lt is in both the UK and EU’s interests for the future relationship to be agreed as swiftly as possible. This will provide certainty for businesses and individuals, and ensure there is continuity in security cooperation between the UK and the EU.
Businesses and individuals will also need to prepare for these changes. lt will be important that they have time to do so, and clarity about the process to make this as smooth as possible.
The UK and the EU will therefore need to agree the next steps as to how the arrangements set out in the Future Framework should be agreed, translated into legal text, concluded and given legal effect by the UK, the EU and its Member States. There should be clear plans for how this process is communicated to the public and our respective parliaments. There will be three phases: up to October 2018; between October 2018 and March 2019; and from March 2019 to December 2020. The exact number and nature of the agreements forming our future relationship will be subject to negotiation.
Phase one: up to October 2018
Within the Article 50 process, the UK and the EU will need to agree two documents: the Withdrawal Agreement and the framework for our future relationship (the ‘Future Framework’).
The Withdrawal Agreement will be a legally binding international treaty between the UK and the EU setting out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal. Much of the Agreement was agreed ahead of the March European Council, including the Parts relating to citizens’ rights, the implementation period and the financial settlement. Negotiations on the remaining issues, including other separation issues, governance of the Agreement and lreland/Northern lreland are ongoing.
The Future Framework will be a political declaration between the UK and the EU, setting out the terms of our future relationship in its entirety. ln addition to committing both parties to a shared design, the Framework will serve as a precise set of instructions from which the UK and the EU will develop and conclude the binding agreements required to give the future relationship effect in international law.
The Withdrawal Agreement and the Future Framework should be seen as a package that will need to be agreed and ratified by the UK and European Parliaments. ln the UK, there will be a resolution in both Houses of Parliament covering the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms of our future relationship as set out in the Future Framework. lf Parliament supports the resolution, the Government will bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement & lmplementation Bill to give the Withdrawal Agreement domestic legal effect. The UK will also abide by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRAG), which normally requires a copy of any treaty subject to ratification to be placed before both Houses for at least 21 sitting days, after which the treaty may be ratifled unless there is a resolution against this. ln the EU, the European Parliament will need to ratify the agreements to give effect to the Withdrawal Agreement.
ln order to give sufficient time for our respective parliaments to approve these documents, both the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will need to be agreed by October 2018.
Phase two: October 2018 to March 2019
The agreements governing our future relationship with the EU can only be legally concluded once the UK has left the EU in March 2019. However, between signature of the Future Framework and the UK’s departure withdrawal, the parties should prepare a clear programme of discussions which enable the future framework to be translated into legal text, to be negotiated and agreed, as soon as possible after the UK has left the EU.
Phase three: March 2019 to December 2020
The negotiations would formally commence immediately after the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March 2019, during the implementation period. They would be focussed on translating all of the Future Framework into agreed legally binding text. Each strand of these discussions – including the economic and security partnerships – should take place in parallel.
For the EU, the Article 50 process will end once the Withdrawal Agreement and the Future Framework are agreed and come into force. The binding agreements comprising the future relationship will be negotiated and concluded on the basis of Article 218 TFEU. Under the Article 218 process, the Council authorises the opening of negotiations and agrees negotiating directives, which then guide the work of the EU negotiator. Whilst Article 218 will act as the EU’s procedural legal base, it will be cited together with one or more substantive legal bases for the individual agreements. These will vary, depending on the policy substance in each case. The legal base(s) will determine how the agreement will need to be concluded and ratified, whether it will require unanimity or a qualified majority in the European Council, and whether it will need the consent of the European Parliament. Where the content of an agreement covers areas of EU and Member State competence (‘mixed competence’), ratification will also need to be taken forward by Member States in accordance with their own constitutional requirements.
The UK will introduce legislation where necessary to implement the terms of the future relationship in domestic law. The agreements themselves will also be subject to parliamentary scrutiny, including CRAG.
In order to ensure that individuals and businesses only have to go through one set of changes as we move from the implementation period to future arrangements, the individual agreements should enter into force as soon as they have been agreed and ratified. ln some cases, this might mean agreements being applied in part, pending formal ratification by Member States (‘provisional application’) where that is necessary. Where agreements come into force during the implementation period, this would be subject to discussion between the UK and the EU. All agreements should come into force before the end of the implementation period.
lndividuals and businesses will need to begin preparations for these new arrangements as soon as possible. To support this, the UK and the EU should ensure that they have sufficient information about the progress that has been made and anticipated timelines. The parties should therefore commit to publish a progress report in March 2019, and every six months after that. [This should align with formal meetings between the parties that take place between the EU and the UK every six months. The parties should also make provisions for updating their respective parliaments.
This forward process is set out in a timeline, at [figure X].