In a “Future Partnership Paper” released on August 15, the UK presented two options for a customs regime upon its exit from the EU.
On May 22, 2017, the Council officially authorized the opening of Article 50 negotiations with the UK. It appointed the Commission as the EU’s negotiator and adopted a first set of Negotiating Directives outlining the EU’s priorities for the first phase of negotiations. These directives are in line with, and complement, the (more political) Article 50 Guidelines of the European Council, adopted by the EU 27 Heads of State and Government on April 29, 2017. This last step in a chain of authorization procedures means that the European Commission, led by Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, now has all the clearances required empowering it to start Brexit talks forthwith.
On May 16, 2017, the EU Court of Justice released its long-awaited opinion on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“FTA” ) (“the Agreement”) (full text here). Back in July 2015, after the EU and Singapore completed trade negotiations, the European Commission sought clarity on its authority to conclude complex deals.
The following questions submitted by the Commission have now been answered:
The UK Government intends to trigger Article 50 TEU by the end of March. This effectively means that the UK will therefore exit the EU by March 2019, unless there is an extension.
In a speech delivered on January 17, Prime Minister (“PM”) May explained that the UK would not seek to be part of the EU’s customs union, but would instead look to establish a “comprehensive” trade agreement with the EU. In tandem, she noted that the UK would no longer accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.