The Future EU-UK Relationship: The EU Ambitions for a Comprehensive Partnership
Brexit Institute Working Paper Series, No 11/2020
14 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2021 Last revised: 8 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 30, 2020
The purpose of this paper is to examine the objectives pursued by the European Union (EU) in crafting its future relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) after Brexit. As the paper argues, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU created an unprecedented situation – namely that of a former member state. In response to this unique state of affairs, the EU has deliberately and consistently endeavored to develop with the UK as a new third country an ambitious partnership, going beyond trade to encompass many other areas of cooperation, spanning from internal and external security to sectoral themes such as the fight against climate change and health. As the paper suggests, the EU’s approach vis-à-vis the UK emerges already in the negotiating guidelines, adopted in the aftermath of the UK notification of its intention to leave the EU; is codified in the non-binding Political Declaration outlining the framework of future EU-UK relations, attached to the Withdrawal Agreement; and is ultimately reflected to a large extent in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached between the parties on Christmas’ Eve 2020. Although this deal does not fully achieve the objectives of the EU, as some areas are not covered by the new EU-UK treaty, the wide-ranging partnership confirms the ambition of the EU to lock-in relationship with a close, special neighbor like the UK.
Keywords: Brexit, Future Partnership, EU, UK, Negotiation Guidelines, Political Declaration, Trade and Cooperation Agreement
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