Mind the Fog, Stand Clear of the Cliff! From the Political Declaration to the Post-Brexit EU-UK Legal Framework – Part I

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Genesis of the Political Declaration. – III. Transitional period and post-Brexit negotiations. – III.1. The transitional period: raison d'être and the basic parameters. – III.2. Political Declaration and negotiations of the future EU-UK framework. – III.3. Post-Brexit negotiations. IV. Post-Brexit legal framework: from the drawing board to the Christmas Eve deal. – IV.1. Introduction. – IV.2. The big picture: the EU’s relations with neighbours. – IV.3. Towards the post-Brexit legal framework: the Political Declaration and early proposals. – V. The post-Brexit EU-UK legal framework: an overview. – V.1. Introduction. – V.2. EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. – V.3. Euratom-UK Agreement on Cooperation on the Safe and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. – V.4. EU-UK Agreement on Security Procedures for the Exchange of Classified Information. – V.5. EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. – VI. Foundations for EU-UK cooperation. – VI.1. Introduction. – VI.2. The future relationship based on shared values. – VII. Institutional set-up. – VII.1. Introduction. – VII.2. Institutional framework in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. – VII.3. Skeleton of the institutional structure envisaged in the Political Declaration. – VII.4. EU-UK Joint institutions in the post-Brexit framework. – VIII. Conclusions.

Abstract: The Brexit saga has reached a watershed moment. The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020 and, following the expiry of the transitional period laid down in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (EU-UK WA), it ceased to be bound by EU law. By the same token, it entered unchartered waters as a former EU Member State trying to find its place in an economically integrated world. This Article takes stock of the legal affairs as they stood on 1 January 2021. Yet, at the same time, it puts the new EU-UK legal framework in a broader perspective. For this purpose, it treats as a point of reference the Political Declaration, which was signed alongside the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. A good chunk of its potential has materialised in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (EU-UK TCA), although in some respects the proposals laid down in the Political Declaration are yet to turn into reality. Thus, to confine it to history books would be rather premature. While it is impossible to predict the future, the time is right to put the EU-UK legal framework under the microscope and to analyse its main legal parameters. The present Article offers such an insight. In part I, the centre of gravity is on institutional matters.

Keywords: Brexit – Political Declaration – EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement – direct effect – human rights – institutional framework.

European Papers, Vol. 5, 2020, No 3, pp. 1105-1141
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/444

* Professor of European Union Law, University of Westminster (London), Visiting Professor, College of Europe (Natolin), a.lazowski@westminster.ac.uk. The Author is grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their comments. The usual disclaimer applies.


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