A draft political declaration for final agreement by Sunday’s EU Council has been published today (Thursday).
Key points include:
- The UK will standardise its regulations with those of the EU: common principles in the fields of standardisation, technical regulations, conformity assessment, accreditation, market surveillance, metrology and labelling. (Article 24)
- To minimise trade friction the UK will have to remain aligned to the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market: The Parties envisage that the extent of the United Kingdom’s commitments on customs and regulatory cooperation, including with regard to alignment of rules, would be taken into account in the application of related checks and controls, considering this as a factor in reducing risk. This, combined with the use of all available facilitative arrangements as described above, can lead to a spectrum of different outcomes (Article 28)
- Even the minimal provisions on free market access for services will depend on staying aligned with EU rules over which we will have no say: Noting that both Parties will have equivalence frameworks in place that allow them to declare a third country's regulatory and supervisory regimes equivalent for relevant purposes, the Parties should start assessing equivalence with respect to each other under these frameworks as soon as possible after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union, endeavouring to conclude these assessments before the end of June 2020. (Article 38)
- The Common Fisheries Policy will live in in a different guise: Within the context of the overall economic partnership the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares. (Article 75)
- EU rules on market regulation will still apply: The future relationship must ensure open and fair competition. Provisions to ensure this should cover state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters, building on the level playing field arrangements provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement and commensurate with the overall economic relationship. (Article 79)
- The UK will pay to take part in EU programmes: a fair and appropriate financial contribution (Article 11)
- An arbitration panel will make rulings that are binding on the UK: The decisions of the independent arbitration panel will be binding on the Parties. (Article 133)
- The European Court can make rulings that are binding on the UK: Should a dispute raise a question of interpretation of Union law, which may also be indicated by either Party, the arbitration panel should refer the question to the CJEU as the sole arbiter of Union law, for a binding ruling. (Article 134)
Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“This proposed agreement – it is not even a deal – suggests we should hand over the power and influence we have as full voting members of the EU in return for a long list of vague promises. Under it we will have no substantive say over vital areas of national life and will be reduced to, in effect, waiting for the next set of law changes to be emailed through from Brussels.
“Our economy would be even further weakened, the fight against crime and terrorism would be damaged and we would be putting environmental, food and safety standards at even greater risk.
“And not only would Britain lose our voice in key decisions, we would also have to pay into the EU in perpetuity. We would have to accede to binding rulings from an unelected arbitration panel and, in cases which involved EU law that would mean accepting the rulings of the European Court: where we would have lost our voice.
“This political declaration is just that – a political declaration. It is entirely aspirational and doesn’t finalise anything. Years of uncertainty and endless negotiations would lie ahead – discouraging investment long into the future.
“In short this is a terrible offer to the British people and one that the people should have the opportunity to turn down in favour of keeping our current deal as members with a say over decisions that affect our future. No one voted to be worse off or have less control in 2016 and now the politicians have come back with a proposal that will do just that, we have the right to say no.
“This is the best deal that the Government can get. Parliament is gridlocked and cannot decide, so it must be for the public in a People’s Vote to decide if they accept it or instead want to stay as full members of the EU, with all the rights that brings, under our current deal.”