(BRUSSELS) – As the EU reaches a “decisive moment” in the Brexit process, both the EU and the UK will have “full control” of their own legislation and rule-making, according to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
At a Council meeting on Monday, M Barnier reported the deal to EU ministers, confirming that the withdrawal text had been agreed by both sides at the level of the negotiators.
He said no one should lose sight of the progress achieved in Brussels and in London. He said the deal was “fair and balanced”, and the EU now needed to determine the internal procedure of the Union for agreeing to extend the transition.
He said the deal took into account the UK positions, and “found a compromise to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland”. He confirmed that both parties wanted to avoid using the backstop.
EU ministers gave their support to the overall package. The focus now would be on a framework for the future relationship, opening the door to negotiations on what M Barnier termed “an ambitious, economic and strategic partnership in the future once the UK will have left”.
The EU presidency also welcomed the package. “Break-ups are never easy, but it is always better when they happen in friendly terms,” said Austrian minister Gernot Bluemel: “That is also the best way to build a good relationship for the future. We still want the UK as an essential partner in all fields for many years to come.”
At the meeting, ministers also commented on the outline for a political declaration on future EU-UK relations that was presented by the negotiators. This outline serves as a basis for the final text of the political declaration currently being negotiated with the UK and that will accompany and be referred to in the withdrawal agreement.
Ministers gave the chief negotiator guidance for the discussions on the political declaration. The Commission intends to agree on a final draft of the political declaration with the UK by Tuesday 20 November.
The Council scheduled a special meeting of the European Council (Art. 50) in EU27 format on Sunday 25 November 2018, where EU27 leaders are expected to endorse the Brexit withdrawal agreement and to approve the political declaration on future EU-UK relations.