Virginia, US

Jan 31 2018

The Council of the European Union Adopts Guidelines for Next Phase of Brexit Negotiations

European Union, United Kingdom

At a Glance

The Council of the European Union has adopted guidelines for the second phase of Brexit negotiations. During this phase, the European Union would like to:

  • Complete negotiations on all withdrawal issues, including those not yet addressed in the first phase;
  • Agree on arrangements for the transition period; and
  • Reach an overall understanding of the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The situation

The Council of the European Union has adopted guidelines for the second phase of Brexit negotiations and has issued specific details on its recommendations for the transition period.

A closer look

The guidelines include the following recommendations for the transition period:

  • Timing. The Council advises that the transition period should end on December 31, 2020.
  • Single Market. The Council recommends that during the transition period, the United Kingdom should remain part of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, which would include the free movement of people.
  • Rights of citizens. The European Union recommends that the rights of citizens exercising freedom of movement during the transition period are protected in the same way as those of citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • International agreements. During the transition period, the United Kingdom should not enter into international agreements in its own capacity in fields of competence of EU law, unless authorized to do so by the European Union.
  • EU decision making and institutions. The United Kingdom would no longer participate in EU decision making and EU institutions.
  • EU acquis. All existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures would continue to apply to the United Kingdom. EU bodies would continue to hold jurisdiction over issues within the competence of the European Union that arise within the United Kingdom, including the EU Court of Justice.
  • Impact: These guidelines provide more clarity on when and how the transition towards the future EU-UK relationship will be arranged. The most important aspect is that the EU wants citizens who use their free movement between the EU and the UK during the post-Brexit transition phase to be protected in the same manner as those who use it before the Brexit day, which is expected to be March 29, 2019.


Looking ahead

The guidelines reflect the position of the European Union on topics that will be discussed by the European Commission and their UK counterparts during the second phase of negotiations in the upcoming months. 

The Council will adopt additional guidelines for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom in March 2018.

Fragomen will issue updates on Brexit as developments occur. For more information, please visit Fragomen’s dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected] / [email protected].