On 22 November, a draft “Brexit-deal package” was agreed by the EU and the UK political leaderships. It consists in two key texts, a Withdrawal Agreement designed to organise and regulate the Brexit in itself and a Political Declaration setting key targets and broad lines e.g. in institutional, socio-economic or technical regards for upcoming negotiations on a future EU-UK relationship.

Although a mere declaration of mutual intentions, values and goals, the Political Declaration contains important statements that EU and UK negotiators should consider whilst shaping a future EU-UK relationship. To name but a few, the aim of going “beyond their commitments under the [WTO’s Agreement on Public Procurement GPA]” or the fact of considering “sustainable development as an overarching objective of the Parties” are positive. The intention of settling “a free trade area as well as wider sectoral cooperation where it is in the mutual interest […] ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition [and] respecting the integrity of the Union’s Single Market and the Customs Union as well as the UK’s internal market” is welcome as well.

The European Council already endorsed both texts as a package deal over its extraordinary summit of 25 November. The European Parliament, although it has not yet officially taken position, should give its consent to it smoothly, according to its President. In opposition to it, ratification by the UK Parliament is quite uncertain so far – to the extent that all options (from a No-Deal Brexit to the organisation of a second referendum in the UK) are openly discussed in the wider debate.

Under the condition that this draft deal is ratified by both sides, Brexit should succeed in guaranteeing that the UK and the EU remain as close as possible when it will materialise on 29 March 2019. This is what CEEP always advocated in the best interest of public services, and thus citizens, on both sides. Only then, negotiations to build the future relationship between the EU and the UK could begin following Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

CEEP’s Policy Officer for Public Services Alexis Le Coutour (alexis.lecoutour@ceep.eu) remains at your disposal for any further question.

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