Saturday, 26 December 2020

UK government reaches agreement with the EU

On Christmas Eve it was announced that agreement had been reached between the UK government and the European Union (EU) over the terms of Future Trade and Co-operation - previous post 22 December 2020.

On 28 December, the agreement was approved (unanimously) by EU Amassadors - BBC News 28 December.

The draft texts have now been published of three agreements and other materials:

For further details see Europa The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the UK Government - Agreements reached between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union

Proposal for Council Decision:

The EU has also published a Draft Proposal for a Council Decision (pdf).  This indicates that the legal basis for the proposed Council Decision is Article 217 TFEU, read in conjunction with Articles 218(5) TFEU and the second paragraph of Article 218(8) TFEU.

Article 217 states - "The Union may conclude with one or more third countries or international organisations agreements establishing an association involving reciprocal rights and obligations, common action and special procedure."

Article 218 TFEU is concerned with the procedure relating to agreements between the EU and third countries (which the UK is). 

Article 218(5) states that - "The Council, on a proposal by the negotiator, shall adopt a decision authorising the signing of the agreement and, if necessary, its provisional application before entry into force."

Article 218(8) states that - "The Council shall act by a qualified majority throughout the procedure" BUT then goes on (second paragraph) to state - "However, it shall act unanimously when the agreement covers a field for which unanimity is required for the adoption of a Union act as well as for association agreements and the agreements referred to in Article 212 with the States which are candidates for accession. The Council shall also act unanimously for the agreement on accession of the Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; the decision concluding this agreement shall enter into force after it has been approved by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements."

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