GEOMETR.IT Milken Institute
* The true value of man is not determined by his possession, supposed or real, of Truth, but rather by his sincere exertion to get to the Truth. It is not possession of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectability is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent and proud. If God were to hold all Truth concealed in his right hand, and in his left only the steady and diligent drive for Truth, albeit with the proviso that I would always and forever err in the process, and to offer me the choice, I would with all humility take the left hand. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Following the European Council’s additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have begun discussions on their future relations, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit). Negotiations continue, in parallel, to agree the terms of a Withdrawal Agreement, the purpose of which is to sort out the main issues regarding the UK’s separation from the EU, in accordance with Article 50 TEU on the procedure for the withdrawal of a Member State from the EU.
The negotiating teams currently aim at identifying a political framework for the future partnership, to be annexed to the Withdrawal Agreement and adopted simultaneously. The treaty or treaties governing the future relations between the UK and the EU would only be concluded once the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country – after the currently scheduled Brexit date of 30 March 2019.
- At EU level, the treaty or treaties would be subject to the ratification procedure for international agreements under Article 218 TFEU. Both the EU and the UK have stated their desire for a close partnership in the future.
- However, a fundamental difference has surfaced in the talks. Whereas the UK has consistently called for a special status, going further and deeper than any existing third-country relationship, the EU has instead based its approach on existing models underpinning its relations with third countries.
- In particular, the EU assessed the various models used in previous EU agreements against the ‘red lines’ originally set by the UK government: no membership of the customs union or the internal market, no free movement of persons; no jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU); and the regaining of regulatory autonomy.
- In line with those red lines, the EU has explored what could be offered, in the area of trade, within the framework of a free-trade agreement (FTA) comparable to the EU-South Korea and the EU-Canada agreements. Similarly, the EU is looking at possible arrangements in the fields of justice and home affairs, and foreign policy and defence, based on how the EU cooperates with other third countries.
Furthermore, several aspects of the special treatment that were requested by the UK either clash with the above-mentioned UK red lines or with the guiding principles set down in the European Council guidelines for the negotiations.
- protection of the EU’s interests;
- preserving the integrity of the internal market and customs union;
- safeguarding the EU’s decision-making autonomy, including the role of the CJEU;
- ensuring a balance of rights and obligations and a level playing field;
- respecting the principle that a third country cannot have the same rights and benefits as a Member State;
- and safeguarding the EU’s financial stability, as well as its regulatory and supervisory regime and standards. While the objectives of the negotiations might be similar on both sides, the EU and UK perspectivesremain divergent, and their positions differ in many areas on the means to achieve those objectives in the context of the future partnership.
In trade and economics, the parties seem to agree on maintaining duty- and quota-free market access in goods, even though for the EU preferential rules of origin would need to be introduced as a result of the UK leaving the customs union. Instead, the UK advocates a facilitated customs arrangement, whereby the UK would apply UK or EU tariff duties at its external border depending on the destination intended for the good (UK or EU internal market) and a common rulebook for goods’standards checked at the borders, which would eliminate the need for an internal border for goods (including the need for preferential rules of origin) between the EU and the UK.
However, the Commission has repeatedly indicated it considers these proposals to be unrealistic.
YOUTUBE: The Future of the United Kingdom, the European Union, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Brexit, Negotiations continue, the terms of a Withdrawal Agreement, Article 50 TEU, Member State from the EU.
The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: Milken Institute