Objective and Scope
The Agreement sets out the arrangements for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”) from the European Union (“European Union”) and from the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom”).
Unless otherwise provided in the Agreement or in EU law made applicable by the Agreement, any reference in the Agreement to the United Kingdom or its territory shall be understood as referring to:
- the United Kingdom;
- Gibraltar, to the extent that EU law was applicable to it before the date of entry into force of the Agreement;
- the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, to the extent that EU law was applicable to them before the date of entry into force of the Agreement;
- the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements set out in the Protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus;
- the overseas countries and territories listed in Annex II to the EU Treaties having special relations with the United Kingdom, where the provisions of the Agreement relate to the special arrangements for the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union.
- Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Unless otherwise provided in the Agreement or in EU law made applicable by the Agreement, any reference in the Agreement to Member States, or their territory, shall be understood as covering the territories of the Member States to which the Treaties.
The European Union and the United Kingdom shall, in full mutual respect and good faith, assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Agreement.
They shall take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising from the Agreement and shall refrain from any measures which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of the Agreement.
This is without prejudice to the application of EU law pursuant to the Agreement, in particular, the principle of sincere cooperation.
Entry into force and application
The Agreement shall enter into force on 30 March 2019. In the event that, prior to that date, the depositary of the Agreement has not received the written notification of the completion of the necessary internal procedures by the European Union and the United Kingdom, the Agreement shall not enter into force.
Parts Two (Citizens Rights) and Part Three (Separation Provisions), with some minor technical exceptions shall apply as from the end of the transition period.
When making the written notification referred to, the European Union, in respect of any Member State which has raised reasons related to fundamental principles of national law of that Member State, may declare that, during the transition period, in addition to the grounds for non-execution of a European arrest warrant referred to in the Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA, the executing judicial authorities of that Member State may refuse to surrender its nationals to the United Kingdom pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant. In such a case, the United Kingdom may declare, no later than 1 month after the receipt of the European Union’s declaration, that its executing judicial authorities may refuse to surrender its nationals to that Member State.
Negotiations on the future relationship
The European Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours, in good faith and in full respect of their respective legal orders, to take the necessary steps to negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship referred to in the political declaration of [DD/MM/2018] and to conduct the relevant procedures for the ratification or conclusion of those agreements, with a view to ensuring that those agreements apply, to the extent possible, as from the end of the transition period.
Backstop Commencement and Taking Effect
The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland shall apply as from the end of the transition period, with the exception of the following provisions of that Protocol that shall apply as from the entry into force of this Agreement:
- Objectives and relationship to subsequent agreement
- Subsequent supervening agreement
- Extension of the transition period
- Joint Committee modification of general provisions in order to lay down higher standards for these level playing field conditions.
- Joint Committee adoption before 1 July 2020 of detailed rules relating to trade in goods between the two parts of the single customs territory for the implementation of the agreements. In the absence of such a decision adopted before 1 July 2020, Annex 3 shall apply.
- The Obligation of the EU and the United Kingdom to use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify such an agreement before 1 July 2020.
- Joint Committee power to adopt decisions amending the customs provisions Protocol, where such amendments are necessary for their proper functioning Such decisions may not amend the essential elements of this Protocol or the Withdrawal Agreement.
- the Joint Committee establishing the conditions, including in quantitative terms, under which certain fishery and aquaculture products brought into the customs territory of the Union by vessels flying the flag of the United Kingdom and registered in Northern Ireland are exempted from duties.
- The determination of the maximum exempted overall annual level of agricultural support and the minimum percentage shall be governed by the procedures set out in Annex 9;
- The EU obligation to consult the United Kingdom on any trade defence measures or actions under the GSP regime which it considers taking. At least 6 months before the end of the transition period, the Joint Committee shall set up the procedures for the application of this paragraph.
- administrative cooperation in relation for mutual administrative assistance so as to ensure compliance with the provisions for trade in goods between the parts of the single customs territory or with third countries
- the Joint Committee elaboration of e provisions on mutual administrative assistance, including as regards the recovery of debts.
- the documentary evidence for the A. UK. movement certificate and explanatory notes and inform the Joint Committee thereof. The use of that specimen shall be mandatory.
- administrative cooperation of customs authorities on certain matters
- measures to transpose EU Law provisions on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation , rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the internal market
- discussion of matters for implementation of Code of Conduct for business taxation set out in the conclusions of the Council of Ministers s reflected in the mandate and criteria established by those conclusions, as well as the guidance relating to the Code of Conduct, as applicable at the end of the transition period.
- the Joint Committee decisions laying down minimum commitments for:) the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants; the maximum sulphur content of marine fuels which may be used in the territorial seas,exclusive economic zones, including in the SOx-Emission Control Area (SOx-ECA)designated in the North Sea and Baltic Sea area, and in the ports of the Member States of the Union and of the United Kingdom; and those best available techniques, including emission limit values, in relation to industrial emissions. These decisions shall apply as from the end of the transition period.
- the determination of the maximum exempted overall annual level of support and the minimum percentage set by the Joint Committee
- the determination by the Joint Committee of the initial maximum exempted overall annual level of support and the initial minimum percentage and adjusted level of support
- by the end of the transition period or within one year of the entry into force of a future Multiannual Financial Framework, as the case may be, shall be suspended until the Joint Committee has determined or adjusted the level of support
- the Joint Committee determination of the initial maximum exempted overall annual level of support and the initial minimum percentage
References to EU law
With the exception of Parts Four (Transition) and Five (Finance) of the Agreement, unless otherwise provided in the Agreement all references in the Agreement to EU law shall be understood as references to EU law, including as amended or replaced, as applicable on the last day of the transition period.
Where in the Agreement reference is made to European Union acts or provisions thereof, such reference shall, where relevant, be understood to include a reference to EU law or provisions thereof that, although replaced or superseded by the act referred to, continue to apply in accordance with that act.
For the purposes of the Agreement, references to provisions of EU law made applicable by the Agreement shall be understood to include references to the relevant European Union acts supplementing or implementing those provisions.
References to the European Union and to the Member States
For the purposes of the Agreement, all references to the Member States and competent authorities of Member States in provisions of EU law made applicable by the Agreement shall be understood as including the United Kingdom and its competent authorities, except as regards:
- the nomination, appointment or election of members of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union, as well as the participation in the decision-making and the attendance in the meetings of the institutions;
- the participation in the decision-making and governance of the bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union;
- the attendance in the meetings of the committees of the European Parliament and of the Council, of Commission expert groups or of other similar entities, or in the meetings of expert groups or similar entities of bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union, unless otherwise provided in the Agreement.
Unless otherwise provided in the Agreement, any reference to the European Union shall be understood as including Euratom.
Access to networks, information systems and databases
Unless otherwise provided in the Agreement, at the end of the transition period the United Kingdom shall cease to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of EU law. The United Kingdom shall take appropriate measures to ensure that it does not access a network, information system or database which it is no longer entitled to access.
Methods and principles relating to the Agreement
The provisions of the Agreement and the provisions of EU law made applicable by the Agreement shall produce in respect of and in the United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which they produce within the European Union and its Member States.
Accordingly, legal or natural persons shall, in particular, be able to rely directly on the provisions contained or referred to in the Agreement which meet the conditions for direct effect under EU law.
The United Kingdom shall ensure compliance with the above provisions, including as regards the required powers of its judicial and administrative authorities to disapply inconsistent or incompatible domestic provisions, through domestic primary legislation.
The provisions of the Agreement referring to EU law or to concepts or provisions thereof shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the methods and general principles of EU law.
The provisions of the Agreement referring to EU law or to concepts or provisions thereof shall in their implementation and application be interpreted in conformity with the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down before the end of the transition period.
In the interpretation and application of the Agreement, the United Kingdom’s judicial and administrative authorities shall have due regard to the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down after the end of the transition period.
For the purposes of the Agreement, the following definitions shall apply:
“EU law” means:
- the Treaty on European Union (“TEU”), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom Treaty”), as amended or supplemented, as well as the Treaties of Accession and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, together referred to as “the Treaties”;
- the general principles of the European Union’s law;
- the acts adopted by the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the European Union;
- the international agreements to which the European Union is a party and the international agreements concluded by the Member States acting on behalf of the European Union;
- the agreements between Member States entered into in their capacity as Member States of the European Union;
- acts of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the European Council or the Council of the European Union (“Council”);
- the declarations made in the context of intergovernmental conferences which adopted the Treaties;
“Member States” means the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, Ireland, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Republic of Croatia, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, Romania, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden;
“European Union citizen” means any person holding the nationality of a Member State;
“United Kingdom national” means a national of the United Kingdom, as defined in the New Declaration by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of 31 December 1982 on the definition of the term “nationals”1 together with Declaration No 63 annexed to the Final Act of the intergovernmental conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon.
Protocols and Annexes
The Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, the Protocol relating to the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, the Protocol on Gibraltar, and Annexes I to IX shall form an integral part of the Agreement.
Authentic texts and depositary
The Agreement is drawn up in a single original in the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish languages, the texts in each of these languages being equally authentic.
The Secretary-General of the Council shall be the depositary of the Agreement.