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The UK-EU Future Relationship Negotiations: Summary of Positions

Last Updated on 26/05/2020 by steveperry

The EU and UK agreed a Political Declaration (PD) setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship, alongside the 
Withdrawal Agreement (WA), on 17 October 2019. The October PD and WA revised the earlier PD and WA texts agreed by
Theresa May’s Government and the EU in November 2018.

Unlike the WA, the PD is a non-binding document and did not require ratification by either party. It set out parameters for the
negotiations, based on a set of joint commitments covering both an economic and security partnership and accompanying
governance arrangements. See the Commons Library Briefing Paper on the PD.   

The EU’s negotiating position was set out in the directives adopted by the Council of the EU on the 25 February. This was
based largely on the proposed directives presented by the European Commission on 3 February, although there were some
amendments following consideration by the Member States. The EU’s position on certain key principles for the negotiations
was also clear from earlier statements by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and chief
negotiator Michel Barnier. Slides published by the Commission in January 2020, and materials published by the Commission 
to accompany the draft directives on 3 February, also provided more detail.

The UK Government published a command paper setting out its approach on 27 February. This elaborated on positions
previously set out in a House of Commons written statement by the Prime Minister on 3 February. Speeches by the 
Prime Minister on 3 February and the UK chief negotiator David Frost on 17 February, and the statement by the Chancellor of
the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove following the publication of the command paper on 27 February also provided more
context and detail on the Government’s position.

The UK and EU positions going into the negotiations were summarised in the House of Commons Library briefing paper 8834, 
The UK-EU future relationship negotiations: process and issues.

The European Commission published a draft future relationship treaty on 18 March which provides more clarity and detail on
its position. The UK has also tabled treaty texts covering the suite of agreements it is proposing. These were published on 19 May.

The positions of the UK and EU in the negotiations, based on the publicly available documents and statements prior to publication
of the UK texts on 19 May, are summarised in the attached tables.

The tables in the attached paper provide a summary of the UK and EU positions in the future relationship negotiations, based on
publicly available documents and statements.

Published: 20th May 2020

Source: House of Commons Library

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