The Council has adopted negotiating directives for Brexit negotiations in relation to a potential transition period. The directives provide a mandate for the EU Commission to discuss transitional arrangements when negotiations restart shortly.
The key elements of the directives, which reflect the Commission's earlier recommendations, comprise the following:
- Any transition period must be defined and limited in time. According to the directives, it should not last beyond 31 December 2020 – a slightly shorter period than the two years which has been suggested by the UK;
- The UK will become a third country as of 30 March 2019 and would therefore not be represented in EU institutions beyond that point;
- However, the entire body of the EU acquis would continue to apply to the UK during any transition period. Changes to the acquis adopted by EU would also apply to the UK during that time;
- Finally, the directives re-iterate that there can be no cherry-picking by the UK. To the extent that the UK remains effectively part of the Single Market and customs union, all four freedoms would continue to apply.