By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
The EU has approved a draft text of guidelines for future trade relations with the U.K. after Brexit.
“Decision: EU27 has adopted guidelines for the future EU-UK relations after #Brexit,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, broke the news on Twitter on Friday morning.
The members of the EU have now formally signed off the negotiating guidelines for the next phase of Brexit talks between the parties. They have given a green light to talks over the bloc’s future relationship with Britain for the first time.
The text lays out a limited, agreed-on transition period that will follow the Brexit date of March 29, 2019.
The transition period terms have been agreed on, said the chief EU and U.K. Brexit negotiators on Monday.
Michel Barnier said the transition period will end on Dec. 31, 2020 and the U.K. will obey EU rules and regulations until that date without any participation in the EU’s decision-making policies.
Calling the development a “decisive step,” Barnier said: “The transition will be of limited duration.”
The published guidelines state that the EU is determined “to have as close as possible a partnership with the U.K. in the future.”
This will cover “trade and economic cooperation as well as other areas, in particular the fight against terrorism and international crime, as well as security, defense and foreign policy,” according to the document.
May hails 'clarity, certainty'
Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the outcome at the European Council meeting.
“I welcome the fact that the EU Council this morning has agreed the details of the implementation period – that period after we leave the EU next March 2019 until the end of December 2020,” she said.
“This gives certainty to people and businesses, it gives them clarity to plan for their future, and it ensures that they will only have to make one adjustment, one change, when we enter into the new relationship with the European Union in the future,” she added.
“The council has also endorsed its guidelines for our negotiations for that future relationship. I believe there’s a new dynamic now in the negotiations. I believe we’re approaching this with a spirit of cooperation, with a spirit of opportunity for the future as well and we will now be sitting down and determining those workable solutions for Northern Ireland but also our future security partnership and economic partnership."
“I believe it is in the best interests of the U.K. and the EU that we get a deal that is in the best interests of both,” she added.