With the expectation of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passing by 31 January, the EU has turned its attention to mapping out the second phase of negotiations with the UK.
For the following 11 months, the UK will maintain some aspects of EU membership, remaining under the ECJ’s jurisdiction and maintaining the four freedoms of movement, but will no longer be represented in EU political institutions, including the European Parliament and European Council. The UK Government will have 30 days to publish its negotiating objectives and the EU is expected to agree its negotiating mandate on 25 February. Clarity in the timeline can help begin give businesses the information necessary to make internal transitional arrangements as necessary.
Relations between the UK and EU remain cordial, with Commission President von der Leyen expected to visit Downing Street this week. During this meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will once again confirm that he does not intend to seek an extension to the transition period. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the latest point at which Johnson could request an extension is June 2020.
A representative of the incoming Croatian presidency, Foreign Minister Goran Grlić-Radman, has made it clear that Brexit is a key priority for the presidency, stating that ‘a lot of work and an important task that we have to do in the best possible way in the interest of all EU members, first of all organisation of the relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom’.
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