Please find the full text of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on the UK Government’s website on 19 March 2018.
It is helpfully colour coded;
“text in green is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks.
For text in yellow, negotiators agreed on the policy objective. Drafting changes or clarifications are
Text in white corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are still ongoing.”
In regard to the Ireland/Northern Ireland issue, despite an initial outcry that the “backstop” solution proposed by the EU in its Draft Protocol could never be accepted (as outlined in the earlier blog ; there is now consensus that this should be part of the legal text of this current document
“to apply unless and until another solution is found.”
The onus is placed firmly on the UK to come up with another solution if it can. This Protocol beginning at page 108 unsurprisingly remains in yellow.
One of the striking elements where there appears to be accord is on Citizens’ Rights listed at Article 9.
Marked in green it states clearly that the agreement is to cover all EU and British citizens who exercised their right to reside in Britain or the EU, respectively, in accordance with the freedom of movement EU law before the end of the transition period and will continue thereafter if they have so exercised that right.
The Home Office followed up on this by sending an email to those of us who have opted to receive email alerts on this matter on 23rd March.
My personal opinion is that the paragraph immediately under a heading: “So, what has been agreed so far and how will you be affected?” Is at best ever so slightly confusing and some may say a tad misleading, although if one reads right to the final paragraph the email does state what has been agreed.
I will quote the two extracts below:
“So, what has been agreed so far and how will you be affected?
EU citizens currently in the UK
The agreement on citizens’ rights reached in December has now been formalised into a draft Treaty text, meaning it is in the right form to be written into law.
The agreement means that if you are an EU citizen living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 you will be able to continue to live and work in the UK. Your rights to healthcare, work arrangements and access to benefits will continue. Also, your existing close family members will be able to join you in future in the same way that they can now. You can read more here: Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know.”
This indicates these rights apply to those who have already arrived before Brexit day.
The email then goes on to talk about digital adverts encouraging EU citizens to stay informed and reassures anyone receiving these email alerts they will continue to be kept updated.
Then the issue of the proposed settlement process is addressed with more information being promised in the forthcoming months.
It is only in the final paragraph that the missive explains that it has now been accepted that there will be an extension period for EU citizens and their family members to arrive in the UK under the same free movement rules until the end of the transition/implementation stage.
The agreement we reached with the EU this week extends the citizens’ rights protections above to include EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK during the implementation period (from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020). This ensures that those planning to come to the UK after March next year know what the arrangements will be. During this time, new arrivals will need to register through a new Home Office registration scheme after three months in the UK.
More information is available at UK leaving the EU: what you need to know.”
No wonder EU citizens in the UK are puzzled as to exactly what is going to happen. Equally at sea are the British citizens living in the EU; the draft agreement does not address the question of whether they will be effectively stranded in just one EU country in the future, once their freedom of movement rights are lost because of Brexit.
European Court Of Justice (ECJ)
There has complete change of colour code here from the UK’s earlier negotiations; from red, red, red to green for go.
There is concurrence of the ECJ’s role in supervision and enforcement, both in having jurisdiction during the transition period for interpretation of the Treaties and also the interpretation of the application of this Agreement.
Although other administrative matters are raised and show as green, including, post Brexit, withdrawing the UK’s access to network, information systems and databases established on the basis of EU law. The one that has seen the most headlines has been the specific arrangements relating to fishing opportunities. The current arrangements are to continue throughout any transition period.
Despite the protests of some erstwhile and present politicians it is showing clearly highlighted in green indicating an agreed position.
It is not to be forgotten that all of the criteria that appear to be concluded in this document are subject to a final agreement being reached on the UK’s future relationship with the EU in all the other ways.
There is one thing that both sides of the negotiations love to remind us:
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
So where are we up to? Who knows!