EU 27 adopt Brexit Guidelines, which refer to the British Bases in Cyprus and to N.Ireland

The European Council adopted today its negotiating guidelines following the United Kingdoms notification under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, during an extraordinary Summit today in Brussels.

The official procedure concerned lasted only 60 seconds.

The guidelines address the issue of the British Bases in Cyprus, saying that the EU should recognise bilateral agreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, in particular as regards safeguarding rights and interests of those EU citizens resident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas.

The guidelines call for a two phase negotiation period, protecting EU and UK citizens rights, address relevant costs, future free trade agreements, the conditions for access in the single market and the relocation of EU institutions.

The EU 27 noted that “on 29 March 2017, the European Council 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 Unions overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its citizens, its businesses and its Member States”.

More specifically the EU 27 vow on paragraph one to preserve “the integrity of the Single Market excludes participation based on a sector-by-sector approach. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member. In this context, the European Council welcomes the recognition by the British Government that the four freedoms of the Single Market are indivisible and that there can be no “cherry picking”. The Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union”.

The approach will be “phased” aimed to “provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible to citizens, businesses, stakeholders and international partners on the immediate effects of the United Kingdoms withdrawal from the Union, settle the disengagement of the United Kingdom from the Union and from all the rights and obligations the United Kingdom derives from commitments undertaken as Member State”.

The guidelines define that while an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be finalized and concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country”. Article 50 TEU requires to take account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union in the arrangements for withdrawal. To this end, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship should be identified during a second phase of the negotiations under Article 50 TEU.

The two year time-frame set out in Article 50 TEU ends on 29 March 2019.

Paragraph 8 states that “the right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State is a fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people. Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdoms withdrawal from the Union will be the first priority for the negotiations. Such guarantees must be effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, including the right to acquire permanent residence after a continuous period of five years of legal residence. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights through smooth and simple administrative procedures.

The United Kingdom, paragraph 9 notes, leaving the Union will impact EU businesses trading with and operating in the United Kingdom and UK businesses trading with and operating in the Union. Similarly, it may affect those who have entered into contracts and business arrangements or take part in EU-funded programmes based on the assumption of continued British EU membership. Negotiations should seek to prevent a legal vacuum once the Treaties cease to apply to the United Kingdom and, to the extent possible, address uncertainties”.

A single financial settlement – including issues resulting from the MFF as well as those related to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) – should ensure that the Union and the United Kingdom both respect the obligations resulting from the whole period of the UK membership in the Union. The settlement should cover all commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities.

The issue of Ireland is addressed in paragraph 11 “the Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance. In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order. In this context, the Union should also recognise existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland which are compatible with EU law”.

Finally the issue of the UK military bases in Cyprus is defined on paragraph 12: “The Union should agree with the United Kingdom on arrangements as regards the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and recognise in that respect bilateral agreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, in particular as regards safeguarding rights and interests of those EU citizens resident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas”.

Source: Cyprus News Agency