A key part of ensuring that our future relationship thrives and endures will be the structures for its effective governance. These will give the UK and the EU assurance that each side will comply with their obligations as set out in the agreements which will underpin the future partnership.
The UK is seeking a deep and special relationship with the EU. This will involve various types of cooperation, from legal agreements and treaties to political cooperation on areas such as foreign policy. The underpinning structures must support the scale and variety of that relationship. They should also reflect the historic relationship between the EU and the UK and the closeness of the ongoing relationship that we seek. While the UK will not be joining the European Economic Area, our level of ambition requires governance arrangements that are fit for purpose and that will need to be significantly more comprehensive than those to be found in even the more ambitious FTAs. They also need to adapt as this relationship evolves over time. They should be rooted in the following key elements:
- a structure that is flexible enough to support different types of cooperation across a series of agreements, most sitting within an overarching institutional framework;
- governance arrangements, where appropriate, that include political oversight and a joint committee;
- formal processes for regulatory cooperation, where appropriate;
- provisions for ensuring consistent interpretation and application of the agreements;
- mechanisms for resolving disputes, imposing non-compliance and rebalancing measures, and implementing safeguards; and
- provisions for UK participation in EU bodies, agencies and programmes.
These elements are addressed in turn below. Taken together, they will create structures that are principled, balanced and practical. They will provide clarity on how our cooperation will be managed and how disputes will be resolved.
Institutional frameworks and governance arrangements are common features of international agreements. They provide structure to the agreement by setting out when, and how, the parties should engage in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the agreement.
This part describes the arrangements that the UK envisages for its future relationship with the EU. The institutional arrangements must in all cases suit the content and form of the agreement in question.
The future relationship should be based on an overarching institutional framework, which will encompass most of the individual agreements that make up the partnership, and set out any common governance arrangements. These should include political oversight and a joint committee.
As illustrated in Diagram XX, in most cases, these agreements will sit underneath the overarching framework. However, in certain circumstances, it may make sense for agreements to remain outside of this framework. ln these instances, Some agreements will need their own governance arrangements, including a separate joint committee where relevant. Underlying agreements should be able to come into force as they are agreed.
This structure will enable the UK and the EU to maintain regular and structured engagement and provide a forum for dialogue and cooperation. It will also be flexible enough for there to be stand-alone agreements between the UK and the EU, where this makes sense for operational, legal or other reasons.
This structure draws on precedents from other international agreements, including EU agreements, which all have some form of institutional architecture. ln general, the broader and deeper the relationship, the more important there is a strong institutional architecture in place to govern it.
For instance, the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement and a range of EU third country agreements include an overarching institutional framework and a joint committee structure.