HomeInsightsEuropean Council President, Donald Tusk, announces “sufficient progress” made in Brexit negotiations to move to phase two

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Mr Tusk, having received confirmation from EU negotiators that “sufficient progress” has been made in Brexit negotiations, has presented draft guidelines to the EU Council for the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

Mr Tusk has proposed that, first, the parties should start negotiating the transition period, “so that people and businesses have clarity about their situation.” The UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union. Mr Tusk said that the EU was “ready to discuss this”, but that “naturally, we have our conditions.” Mr Tusk has proposed that during this period, the UK will respect:

  • the whole of EU law, including new law;
  • budgetary commitments;
  • judicial oversight; and
  • all related obligations.

During the transition period following the UK’s withdrawal, EU decision-making will continue among the 27 Member States without the UK, Mr Tusk said.

Mr Tusk said that moving forward with negotiations was “the only reasonable solution”, and that it was “in the interest of all our citizens that it is agreed as soon as possible.” He therefore asked EU leaders to “mandate our negotiator to start these talks immediately.”

Secondly, Mr Tusk said, the EU wanted to begin discussions with the UK in order to explore the British vision of its future relationship with the EU. So far, he said, “we have heard a number of various ideas.” The EU needs “more clarity on how the UK sees our future relations, after it has left the Single Market and Customs Union.” He therefore proposed to authorise the EU’s negotiator to start exploratory talks with the UK about this problem. The EU is, he said, “ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade,” as well as in “the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy.” For this to happen, the European Council will have to adopt additional guidelines next year.

Finally, Mr Tusk said that “the most difficult challenge is still ahead.” Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed. To negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, “we have de facto less than a year.” To read Mr Tusk’s statement in full, click here.