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, as agreed at negotiators' level on 14 November 2018
Transition is addressed in Article 126 to 132 of the draft - at pages 196-209.
Article 126 states that - "There shall be a transition or implementation period (TP), which shall start on the date of entry into force of this Agreement and end on 31 December 2020. The purpose of the TP is of course to enable negotiations to take place on the detailed future relationship arrangements.
It is hoped that there will be agreement on the future relationship and that this will be in place by the end of the TP. If that is achievable then the Ireland / Northern Ireland "backstop" arrangements would not be necessary because the arrangements in the future on-going relationship would apply.
Article 127 continues Union law in the UK during the TP. There are exceptions to this.
In the event that the EU and UK reach agreement about future relations in Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy and if that agreement comes into force during the TP then Chapter 2 of Title V of the Treaty on European Union will cease to apply to the UK from the date of the agreement.
During the transition period, the Union law applicable to the UK shall produce in respect of and in the United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which it produces within the Union and its Member States, and shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the same methods and general principles as those applicable within the Union.
An important exception to the continuation of EU law in the UK during the TP appears in Article 127. The UK will no longer send members to the European Parliament after 29 March 2019. Article 127 removes the rights of citizens to vote in European elections etc. There will therefore be no representation in the European Parliament even thouygh, during the TP, the EU may continue to enact legislation applicable to the UK.
The following provisions will no longer apply to UK:
Article 127 contains some further provisions not considered here - see Article 127 paragraphs 4 to 7 inclusive.
Article 128 - Institutional Arrangements - During the TP we see a reducing involvement of the UK in the various EU institutions. The detail is in Article 128.
Article 130 -Specific arrangement s relating to fishing opportunities. This is not examined further here.
Article 131 - Supervision and Enforcement -
Here we see the continuing role of the Court of Justice of the EU (and other EU Institutions) during the TP.
"During the transition period, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the powers conferred upon them by Union law in relation to the United Kingdom and to natural and legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as provided for in the Treaties.
The first paragraph shall also apply during the transition period as regards the interpretation and application of this Agreement."
Article 132 - Extension of the Transition Period
The Joint Committee - established by Article 164 - may, before 1 July 2020, adopt a single decision extending the transition period up to 31 December 20(XX). There is no stated "end stop" so, in theory, any date could be selected. Nevertheless, we can envisage that the power to extend the TP would be carefully used. A possible use would be to permit a reasonable period of additional time to conclude the future relationship arrangements should that prove to be necessary. Note also Article 184 regarding best endeavours in seeking to conclude the future relationship -
It might have been possible to specify further requirements relating to when an extension was to be permitted but the negotiators possibly considered that to be unwise given the obvious difficulty of forecasting every possible situation that could arise before 1 July 2020.
If the TP is so extended then the UK will be considered as a third country for the purposes of the implementation of the Union programmes and activities committed under the multiannual financial framework applying as from the year 2021. A number of other changes will apply if the TP is extended. The UK will be required to contribute to the Union budget for the extended TP and Article 132 provides for how this will be determined.