The UK Government has published its proposals for the implementation period following the UK’s departure from the EU.
The document, which sets out the UK’s suggested approach to the legal text of the implementation period to be provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, contains several amendments to the EU Commission’s Position Paper on Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement. These are, however, mostly of a technical nature. As the document makes, clear, there are “only a small number of areas requiring discussion” between the UK and the EU.
For example, the UK agrees with the EU position that a Joint Committee should be established to supervise the Withdrawal Agreement and also that financial settlement aspects of the implementation period should be covered in the Withdrawal Agreement.
As expected, the paper confirms that UK law will continue to reflect the EU acquis during the implementation period. However, the paper also concedes that the UK would be unable to enter into any new trade deals with third countries during this time without the EU’s authorisation, a position unpopular with a number of MPs within the Prime Minister’s own party.
In addition, the paper repeats the UK’s earlier suggestion that the EU’s existing bilateral third country agreements should continue to apply to the UK in the same way for the duration of the implementation period, although as noted in our previous blog post, this would also require the agreement of each third country.
Notably, in contrast to the EU position that the transition phase should end on 31 December 2020, the UK’s proposals stipulate that the length of the period "should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin the future partnership". The paper adds, however, that the “UK agrees this points to a period of around two years, but wishes to discuss with the EU the assessment that supports its proposed end date”.