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Text: EU 27 draft Brexit negotiations guidelines

Published: 3:50 PM, March 31, 2017

BRUSSELS - The chairman of the 27 European Union leaders Donald Tusk on Friday presented a draft plan for negotiating Brexit, an unprecedented departure of a member from the bloc.

Please see below the full text of the nine-page document, the so-called "guidelines" of the EU 27 for Brexit talks starting soon.

On 29 March 2017, the European Council has received the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom. This allows for the opening of negotiations as foreseen by the Treaty.

European integration has brought peace and prosperity to Europe and allowed for an unprecedented level and scope of cooperation on matters of common interest in a rapidly changing world. Therefore, the Union's overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its Member States, its citizens and its businesses.

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption, in particular in the UK but also in other Member States. Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. Businesses and other stakeholders will lose the predictability and certainty that come with EU law. With this in mind, we must proceed according to a phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal.

In these negotiations the Union will act as one. It will be constructive throughout and will strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail.

These guidelines define the framework for negotiations under Article 50 TEU and set out the overall positions and principles that the Union will pursue throughout the negotiation. The European Council will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary. * Core principles 1. The European Council will continue to base itself on theprinciples set out in the statement of Heads of State orGovernment and of the Presidents of the European Council and theEuropean Commission on 29 June 2016. It reiterates its wish tohave the United Kingdom as a close partner in the future. Itfurther reiterates that any agreement with the United Kingdomwill have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations,and ensure a level-playing field. Preserving the integrity ofthe Single Market excludes participation based on asector-by-sector approach. A non-member of the Union, that doesnot live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have thesame rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member. In thiscontext, the European Council welcomes the recognition by theBritish Government that the four freedoms of the Single Marketare indivisible and that there can be no "cherry picking". 2. Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted as asingle package. In accordance with the principle that nothing isagreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot besettled separately. The Union will approach the negotiationswith unified positions, and will engage with the United Kingdomexclusively through the channels set out in these guidelines andin the negotiating directives. So as not to undercut theposition of the Union, there will be no separate negotiationsbetween individual Member States and the United Kingdom onmatters pertaining to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom fromthe Union. * A phased approach to negotiations 1. On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties will cease toapply to the United Kingdom, to those of its overseas countriesand territories currently associated to the Union, and toterritories for whose external relations the United Kingdom isresponsible. The main purpose of the negotiations will be toensure the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal so as to reduceuncertainty and, to the extent possible, minimise disruptioncaused by this abrupt change.

To that effect, the first phase of negotiations will aim to: * settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from theUnion and from all the rights and obligations the United Kingdomderives from commitments undertaken as Member State; * provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible tocitizens, businesses, stakeholders and international partners onthe immediate effects of the United Kingdom's withdrawal fromthe Union.

The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase. 1. While an agreement on a future relationship between theUnion and the United Kingdom as such can only be concluded oncethe United Kingdom has become a third country, Article 50 TEUrequires to take account of the framework for its futurerelationship with the Union in the arrangements for withdrawal.To this end, an overall understanding on the framework for thefuture relationship could be identified during a second phase ofthe negotiations under Article 50. The Union and its MemberStates stand ready to engage in preliminary and preparatorydiscussions to this end in the context of negotiations underArticle 50 TEU, as soon as sufficient progress has been made inthe first phase towards reaching a satisfactory agreement on thearrangements for an orderly withdrawal. 2. To the extent necessary and legally possible, thenegotiations may also seek to determine transitionalarrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, asappropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeableframework for the future relationship. Any such transitionalarrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, andsubject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should atime-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, thiswould require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisoryand enforcement instruments and structures to apply. 3. The core principles set out above should apply equally tothe negotiations on an orderly withdrawal, to any preliminaryand preparatory discussions on the framework for a futurerelationship, and to any form of transitional arrangements. 4. The two year timeframe set out in Article 50 TEU ends on29 March 2019. * Agreement on arrangements for an orderly withdrawal 1. The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her familymembers, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State isa fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with otherrights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives andchoices of millions of people. Agreeing reciprocal guarantees tosettle the status and situations at the date of withdrawal of EUand UK citizens, and their families, affected by the UnitedKingdom's withdrawal from the Union will be a matter of priorityfor the negotiations. Such guarantees must be enforceable andnon-discriminatory. 2. Also, the United Kingdom leaving the Union will impact EUbusinesses trading with and operating in the United Kingdom andUK businesses trading with and operating in the Union.Similarly, it may affect those who have entered into contractsand business arrangements or take part in EU-funded programmesbased on the assumption of continued British EU membership.Negotiations should seek to prevent a legal vacuum once theTreaties cease to apply to the United Kingdom and, to the extentpossible, address uncertainties. 3. A single financial settlement should ensure that theUnion and the United Kingdom both respect the obligationsundertaken before the date of withdrawal. The settlement shouldcover all legal and budgetary commitments as well asliabilities, including contingent liabilities. 4. The Union has consistently supported the goal of peaceand reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement, andcontinuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits andcommitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramountimportance. In view of the unique circumstances on the island ofIreland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required,including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, whilerespecting the integrity of the Union legal order. In thiscontext, the Union should also recognise existing bilateralagreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom andIreland which are compatible with EU law. 5. The Union should agree with the United Kingdom onarrangements as regards the Sovereign Base Areas of the UnitedKingdom in Cyprus and recognise in that respect bilateralagreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus andthe United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, inparticular as regards the situation of those EU citizensresident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas. 6. Following the withdrawal, the Union with 27 Member Stateswill continue to have the rights and obligations of the Unionwith 28 Member States in relation to international agreements.The United Kingdom will no longer be covered by agreementsconcluded by the Union or by Member States acting on its behalfor by both acting jointly. The European Council expects theUnited Kingdom to honour its share of international commitmentscontracted in the context of its EU membership. In suchinstances, a constructive dialogue with the United Kingdom on apossible common approach towards third country partners andinternational organisations concerned should be engaged. 7. While the future location of the seats of EU agencies andfacilities located in the United Kingdom is a matter for the 27Member States, arrangements should be found to facilitate theirtransfer. 8. Arrangements ensuring legal certainty and equal treatmentshould be found for all court procedures pending before theCourt of Justice of the European Union upon the date ofwithdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legalpersons in the United Kingdom. The Court of Justice of theEuropean Union should remain competent to adjudicate in theseprocedures. Similarly, arrangements should be found foradministrative procedures pending before the European Commissionand Union agencies upon the date of the withdrawal that involvethe United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the UnitedKingdom. In addition, arrangements should be foreseen for thepossibility of administrative or court proceedings to beinitiated post-exit for facts that have occurred before thewithdrawal date. 9. The withdrawal agreement should include appropriatedispute settlement mechanisms regarding the application andinterpretation of the withdrawal agreement, as well as dulycircumscribed institutional arrangements allowing for theadoption of measures necessary to deal with situations notforeseen in the withdrawal agreement. This should be donebearing in mind the Union's interest to effectively protect itsautonomy and its legal order, including the role of the Court ofJustice of the European Union. * Preliminary and preparatory discussions on a framework forthe Union - United Kingdom future relationship 1. The European Council welcomes and shares the UnitedKingdom's desire to establish a close partnership between theUnion and the United Kingdom after its departure. While arelationship between the Union and a non Member State cannotoffer the same benefits as Union membership, strong andconstructive ties will remain in both sides' interest and shouldencompass more than just trade. 2. The British government has indicated that it will notseek to remain in the single market, but would like to pursue anambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Based onthe Union's interests, the European Council stands ready toinitiate work towards such an agreement, to be finalised andconcluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State. 3. Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitiousand wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation inthe Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine itsintegrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playingfield in terms of competition and state aid, and must encompasssafeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, interalia, fiscal, social and environmental dumping. 4. Beyond trade, the EU stands ready to considerestablishing a partnership in other areas, in particular thefight against terrorism and international crime as well assecurity and defence. 5. The future partnership must include appropriateenforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms that do not affectthe Union's autonomy, in particular its decision-makingprocedures. 6. After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreementbetween the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territoryof Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spainand the United Kingdom. * Principle of sincere cooperation 1. Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains afull Member of the European Union, subject to all rights andobligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law, includingthe principle of sincere cooperation. 2. The European Council recognises the need, in theinternational context, to take into account the specificities ofthe United Kingdom as a withdrawing Member State, provided itremains loyal to the Union's interests while still a Member.Similarly the Union expects the United Kingdom to recognise theneed of the 27 Member States to meet and discuss matters relatedto the situation after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom. 3. While the United Kingdom is still a member, all ongoingEU business must continue to proceed as smoothly as possible at28. The European Council remains committed to drive forward withambition the priorities the Union has set itself. Negotiationswith the United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Unionbusiness, and shall not interfere with its progress. * Procedural arrangements for negotiations under Article 50 1. The European Council endorses the arrangements set out inthe statement of 27 Heads of State or Government on 15 December2016. REUTERS