Draft Agreement on withdrawal from EU – What does it say? What does it mean?

November 16, 2018

UNLESS you haven’t seen any news, and you haven’t spoken to anyone this week, chances are you will have seen a lot of headlines about the Countries withdrawal from the European Union – Deal or No Deal anybody?

At Tamworth Informed, we wanted to break down some of the key points from the 585-page document we have seen, along with the Members of Parliament this week.

We are of course talking about, THE document that has made the headlines this week, the snappily titled ‘Draft Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (14 November 2018).

If you like, you can also download the whole document from us here and read it yourself… you will need coffee and biscuits!

If you decide to read only the key points, click each section below.

// Under the EU Settlement Scheme, developed as part of the negotiations, all EU citizens lawfully living in the UK continuously for five years before 2021 will be able to stay.

// Close family members will be able to join them in the UK and children born to immigrants living in the UK will be protected.

// Those who have not been living in the UK continuously for five years before 2021 will be granted pre-settled status and can apply for settled status when they have reached five years.

// EU citizens and their families can apply for UK residency through the EU Settlement Scheme by proving their identity, going through a check to ensure they are not a serious criminal and providing evidence of residence in the UK.

// Applications will be online and will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16.

// Close family members joining an EU citizen in the UK after 31 December 2020 will have three months to make an application, but where there is a good reason the deadline will be extended.

// Those with settled or pre-settled status will have the same access to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK as British citizens.

// The UK wants to secure a similar deal for citizens living in the UK from the non-EU European Economic Area states of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and Switzerland.

// Irish citizens will not be required to apply for residency status, but can if they wish, and eligible non-British or Irish family members can obtain status under the scheme.

// People who live in one country and work in another will have their rights protected, as will any other workers.

// The backstop option is only a safeguard to ensure the UK will not be split and it is not the preferred or expected outcome.

// The transition period could be extended to avoid a backstop.

// The continued operation of the Common Travel Area and protection of rights and privileges enjoyed by British and Irish citizens in each other’s states is “fundamental”.

// The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement should not be diminished.

// A single customs territory will be set out between the UK and the EU to ensure free flow of goods – but not for fisheries – between Northern Ireland and the Republic to prevent a hard border in the Irish Sea.

// By having a UK-wide customs territory, instead of just in Northern Ireland, this ties the UK to the EU – perhaps indefinitely if a deal is not agreed on.

// Live animals moving between the two Irelands will not have to undergo checks and controls.

// Northern Irish products sold in the EU will be labelled as coming from Northern Ireland or the EU, but in the UK will be from Northern Ireland or the UK.

// Certain EU VAT and excise rules will apply in Northern Ireland but the country will remain part of the UK’s VAT area.

// Electricity will remain shared with Ireland, as it has since 2007.

// The UK will remain committed to protecting and supporting continued cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and their regions.

// Where EU law applies in Northern Ireland in offices, institutions and agencies, this will remain until a future agreement.

// UK nationals living in the EU continuously for five years by the end of the transition period will be able to stay.

// UK citizens living in an EU country by the end of 2020 who have not been there for five years in a row will be able to stay until they have been there for five years – then they will have the right to permanent residency.

// EU countries can choose whether UK citizens will have to apply for residency or not – but this must be a short, simple and user-friendly service which is free of charge or not more than the £65 an EU citizen would be charged in the UK.

// People who live in one country and work in another – frontier workers such as in Gibraltar/Spain – will have their rights protected, as will any other workers.

// Qualifications of EU and UK professionals, such as lawyers and auditors, obtained before 2021 will be mutually recognised across the UK and the EU.

// People who have moved between the UK and the EU before 2021 will still have access to benefits, pensions and healthcare cover – including reciprocal healthcare rights.

// The UK will make a final judgement on EU-approved case law with regards to citizens’ rights.

// Participation will be on a case-by-case basis.

// UK representatives and experts will be able to continue to attend certain EU meetings where UK presence is necessary and in the interests of the EU.

// The UK will continue to participate in existing justice and home affairs measures and will be able to opt in to measures which amend existing ones.

// The UK will be treated as an EU member for the purposes of international agreements with non-member states.

// The UK will be able to negotiate and ratify new international trade agreements to come into effect after the period ends.

// Fisheries regulations will remain the same during the transition period.

// The UK can start to negotiate its fishing opportunities in 2020 with the aim of concluding that by 2021. During that period the EU can invite the UK to be part of its international fishing negotiations.

// Products already in the UK/EU marketplace on 1 January 2021 will continue to be recognised under EU rules, with VAT remaining the same.

// Live animals and animal products will have to comply with EU third country rules – including a vet check – before being exported from the UK.

// Goods under current intellectual property rights and customs union rules, or being stored for up to 12 months after the end of the period, will be treated the same as if they were in circulation before 21 January 2021.

// EU trade marks will be protected within the UK.

// Existing EU geographical indications – where products have to be made in a certain region to have the name, such as Champagne and Genuine Cornish Pasties – will remain protected in the UK and the EU.

// Tax and customs cooperations will remain after the end of the implementation period but customs information between the UK and the EU will only continue for three years after the period.

// VAT transactions and excise movement information sharing which happens before the end of the period will remain for four years after.

// Any remaining activity by the European Central Bank and European Investment Bank in the UK will continue until they are completed.

// Those wanted under a European Arrest Warrant will have their cases completed under the same rules if they are arrested before January 2021.

// British police and the UK’s criminal judicial system will have time-limited access to certain EU communications networks, information systems and databases after the end of the period.

// Civil and commercial judicial proceedings and contractual obligations between the EU and the UK will continue through the period.

// EU rules on insolvency proceedings and information requests in cross-border parental responsibility and maintenance cases started before 2021 will continue.

// Legal aid, EU small claims procedure, civil disputes mediation and criminal victims’ compensation will be protected.

// The UK’s involvement in the CJEU will be wound down during the transition period.

// Pending CJEU cases at the end of the period will continue until a final resolution, with UK qualified lawyers allowed to represent clients until then.

// The European Commission can bring infraction cases against the UK for up to four years after the end of the implementation period for failure to comply with EU law before that.

// The EU can bring illegal state aid, anti-fraud and customs debt cases against the UK for four years after the end of the implementation period.

// The UK will be able to choose not to apply any EU foreign policy decisions during the period.

// If an agreement is made on the future relationship of common foreign and security policy during the implementation period any existing EU laws on these issues will cease to exist.

// The UK will not command or lead EU operations and missions, or provide them with a headquarters.

// The UK can be excluded from security-related sensitive information during the implementation period but the EU is required to notify the UK if this happens.

// Akrotiri and Dhekelia bases in Cyprus, which are used for both military and humanitarian operations, are UK Overseas Territories which will continue to be the case after the transition period, including law and taxation of goods.

// The UK will withdraw from the Treaty of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).

// The UK will have sole responsibility for ensuring all nuclear materials will be treated with the same responsibilities.

// Euratom equipment and property in the UK will become the UK’s property.

// The UK and the EU have agreed on a methodology for calculating a divorce bill and a payment schedule.

// The estimate is £35bn-£39bn.

// The UK’s European Investment Bank paid-in capital of nearly £3.1bn and payments to the European Central Bank will be returned over 12 years, starting in 2019.

// The UK will honour the financial commitments it made to the EU Trust Funds and the EU-Turkey refugee agreement.

// Data exchanged between the UK and the EU before 2021 will remain protected to the same high standards.

// The UK government is seeking, after the end of the transition period, to maintain these standards and the current rules which mean that a third country must provide an adequate level of protection for personal data.

// UK data sent to the EU will continue to be protected after exiting.

In case this all falls through however, you can see the latest advice on how to prepare yourself for a no-deal Brexit here.