1. The  European  Union,  hereafter  referred  to  as  “the  Union”,  and  the  United  Kingdom  of  Great  Britain   and  Northern  Ireland,  hereafter  referred  to  as  “the  United  Kingdom”,  have  agreed  a  number  of   measures  to  enhance  and  expedite  the  process  of  negotiating  and  bringing  into  force  their  future   relationship,  supplementing  those  set  out  in  the  Political  Declaration  endorsed  by  the  Union  and   the  United  Kingdom  on  25  November  2018.

2. First,  the  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  wish  to  emphasise  their  shared  and  solemn  regard  for  the   vision  for  the  future  relationship  detailed  in  the  Political  Declaration.  In  this  context,  and  in  line   with  Paragraph  1  of  the  Political  Declaration,  both  the  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  reiterate  the   clear  and  important  link  between  the  Withdrawal  Agreement  and  the  Political  Declaration,  which   while  being  of  a  different  nature  are  part  of  the  same  negotiated  package.  As  stated  in  Article  184   of  the  Withdrawal  Agreement  and  reflected  also  in  Paragraph  138  of  the  Political  Declaration,  the   Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  have  committed  to  use  best  endeavours,  in  good  faith  and  in  full   respect  of  the  respective  legal  orders,  to  take  necessary  steps  to  negotiate  expeditiously  the   agreements  governing  their  future  relationship  referred  to  in  the  Political  Declaration.  The  Union   underlined  this  relationship  between  them  when  it  published  the  two  texts  side  by  side  in  its   Official  Journal  on  19  February,  and  the  Parliament  of  the  United  Kingdom  must  consider  and   approve  both  together.

3. Second,  the  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  have  the  shared  ambition  to   have  the  future   relationship  in  place  by  the  end  of  the  transition  period.  To  this  end,  the  Union  and  the  United   Kingdom  have  confirmed  that  immediately  following  the  United  Kingdom’s  withdrawal,  they  will   take  the  steps  necessary  to  begin  formal  negotiations.  The  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  have   agreed  that  negotiations  on  the  various  strands  of  the  future  relationship  will  then  proceed  in   parallel.  Should  national  ratifications  be  pending  at  the  end  of  the  transition  period,  the  European   Commission  has  already  made  clear  that  it  is  ready  to  propose  applying  on  a  provisional  basis   relevant  aspects  of  the  future  relationship,  in  line  with  the  applicable  legal  frameworks  and  existing   practice  and  the  United  Kingdom  welcomes  this  intent.

4. Third,  with  a  view  to  providing  a  sound  foundation  for  the  talks  and  building  on  the  commitments   already  contained  in  the  Political  Declaration,  the  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  will     expeditiously:     a. identify   those  areas  which  are  likely  to  require  the  greatest  consideration,  and  the   associated  technical  and  legal  issues  that  will  need  to  be  addressed,  in  order  that  the   necessary  technical  preparations  can  be  made  on  both  sides;  and  b. draw  up  a  full  schedule  for  the  negotiations,  taking  into  account  various  internal  processes,   including  the  European  Parliament  elections  and  the  appointment  of  a  new  Commission.

5. Fourth,  and  in  the  context  of  open  and  fair  competition,  the  Union  notes  the  United  Kingdom’s   intention  to  ensure  that  its  social  and  employment  standards  and  its  environmental  standards  do   not  regress  from  those  in  place  at  the  end  of  the  transition  period,  and  to  provide  its  Parliament   the  opportunity  to  consider  future  changes  in  Union  law  in  these  areas.

6. Fifth,  given  the  Union’s  and  the  United  Kingdom’s  firm  commitment  to  work  at  speed  on  a   subsequent  agreement  that  establishes  by  31  December  2020  alternative  arrangements  such  that   the  backstop  solution  in  the  Protocol  on  Ireland/Northern  Ireland  will  not  need  to  be  applied,  a   specific  negotiating  track  will  be  established  at  the  outset  and  as  part  of  the  negotiations  to  lead   the  analysis  and  development  of  these  alternative  arrangements.  This  dedicated  track  will  consider   the  use  of  all  existing  and  emerging  facilitative  arrangements  and  technologies,  with  a  view  to   assessing  their  potential  to  replace,  in  whole  or  in  part,  the  backstop  solution  in  the  Protocol  on   Ireland/Northern  Ireland.  That  assessment  will  include  an  evaluation  of  their  practicability  and   deliverability  in  the  unique  circumstances  of  Northern  Ireland.  By  virtue  of  being  embedded  in  the   overall  negotiation  structure,  the  negotiating  track  on  alternative  arrangements  will  be  able  to  take   account  of  progress  made  in  the  wider  negotiations  on  the  future  relationship,  in  particular  on   goods  regulations  and  customs.  In  addition,  and  in  support  of  their  work  on  alternative   arrangements,  both  the  Union  and  the  United  Kingdom  will  consult  with  private  sector  experts,   businesses,  trade  unions,  the  institutions  established  under  the  Good  Friday  or  Belfast  Agreement,   and  appropriate  involvement  of  parliaments.  In  the  first  instance,  the  progress  concerning   alternative  arrangements  will  be  assessed  at  the  first  high  level  conference  envisaged  by  the   Political  Declaration.  To  ensure  that  the  negotiations  are  concluded  in  good  time,  further  progress   will  be  reviewed  at  each  subsequent  high  level  conference.

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