UK/EU future relationship plan unveiled

A draft declaration on the future UK/EU relationship has now been sent to all of the leaders of the other 27 EU states confirming among other matters that both sides wish to waive visa requirements for visitors.

The document, described as a ‘political declaration’, is to be attached to the Brexit withdrawal agreement that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

On Sunday it is intended that the two elements will be ratified by the 27 leaders. The plan is then that the items in the declaration would be subject to detailed negotiation as soon as the UK leaves the EU, with a view to putting new measures in place by the end of the planned transition period at the end of 2020.

That is assuming Brexit happens as the UK government currently plans, with Mrs May’s deal or a renegotiated version of it (which the EU may be unlikely to agree to and which could require putting off the Brexit date), as opposed to the alternatives of a no-deal Brexit or no-Brexit following a new election and/or ‘People’s Vote’.

Key points in the draft political declaration which The Telegraph reported this afternoon it had ‘obtained’ after ‘leaks’, but which was also posted on the European Commission’s Brexit documents site, include:

  • Working out terms and conditions for the UK to continue taking part in various EU programmes in science, education, youth and culture (such as Erasmus), including a ‘fair and appropriate financial contribution’
          
  • Aiming to provide visa-free travel for short visits (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). The document does not mention avoiding visa requirements for those settling long-term. At present all non-EU/EEA people who settle in France need a visa from their French consulate as well as applying for a carte de séjour after their arrival, apart from in the case of one kind of visa allowing for a first year with no carte.The parties will also consider the conditions for entry and residency for purposes like research, study, training and youth exchanges
        
  • They will consider addressing social security coordination for those moving long-term between the UK and EU (editor’s note: this might include such matters as uprating of state pensions as well as healthcare for pensioners and exportable benefits).
       
  • The parties will explore possibilities of lightening the requirements for travellers at the border
       
  • They will look at options on judicial cooperation in areas like matrimonial and child custody law
        
  • They will ensure that air travel continues to function, via a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) and also having cooperation on standards for aviation safety
         
  • They will make bilateral arrangements to ensure cross-border rail services, including via the Channel Tunnel, continue to operate
                                 
  • There will be cooperation on law enforcement over criminal matters

The declaration also covers plans to create a future UK/EU free trade area.

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