In this third report of its overarching inquiry into the Article 50 negotiations, the Exiting the European Union Committee sets out key tests by which any deal agreed by October 2018 must be judged.
Having published the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 19 March 2018, the EU and the UK are now moving on to the detailed scoping of future relations with a view to reaching agreement on a political declaration on the framework for this future relationship in October 2018.
This will be agreed alongside the Article 50 withdrawal agreement and the agreement on the transition period. The European Council adopted its guidelines for the forthcoming negotiations in March.
An agreement reached on the UK's future relationship with the EU will, by definition, be bespoke. The Committee acknowledges that the UK has an enormous amount to offer the EU as a third country and that it is in the interests of the UK and the EU to reach an agreement that will benefit both.
The Committee's tests by which it will judge the political declaration in October 2018 are as follows:
- The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland must remain open with no physical infrastructure or any related checks and controls, as agreed in the Phase 1 Withdrawal Agreement.
- Crime and terrorism: arrangements must replicate current operational and practical cross-border cooperation; particularly continued involvement with Europol and the European Arrest Warrant and participation in the EU's information-sharing systems including SIS II.
- Institutional and decision-making frameworks must be identified to ensure that the UK is able fully to participate in foreign and security cooperation with the EU, to meet the challenges it shares with its EU27 neighbours.
- In respect of trade in goods, there must be no tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU 27.
- Trade in goods must continue to be conducted with no additional border or rules of origin checks that would delay the delivery of perishable or time-sensitive deliveries or impede the operation of cross-border supply chains.
- There must be no additional costs to businesses that trade in goods or services.
- UK providers of financial and broadcasting services must be able to continue to sell their products into EU markets as at present.
- UK providers of financial and other services should be able to retain automatically, or with minimal additional administration, their rights of establishment in the EU, and vice versa, where possible on the basis of mutual recognition of regulatory standard.
- There must be no impediments to the free flow of data between the UK and the EU.
- Any new immigration arrangements set up between the UK and the EU must not act as an impediment to the movement of workers providing services across borders or to the recognition of their qualifications and their right to practise.
- The UK must seek to maintain convergence with EU regulations in all relevant areas in order to maximise access to European markets.
- The UK's continued participation in the European Medicines Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and the European Chemicals Agency and in other agencies where there is a benefit to continuing co-operation.
- The UK's continued participation in the Horizon 2020 programme, the Erasmus+ scheme, the Galileo project and in other space and research programmes in order to support the work of our world-class academic institutions and the importance of cultural and educational exchange between the UK and the EU 27.
- The UK's continued participation in all relevant air safety agreements and the Open Skies Agreement to ensure no disruption to the existing level of direct flights.
- The UK Government must ensure maximum access to European markets while agreeing reciprocal access to waters and a fairer allocation of fishing opportunities for the UK fishing industry.
The Chair of the Exiting the EU Committee, Hilary Benn MP, said:
"Having listened to the evidence, we today offer a series of tests against which any deal reached must be judged. I hope these will assist Parliament when it comes to its meaningful vote at the end of the Article 50 negotiations.
Our tests set a high bar but they are based on the Prime Minister's vision for our future outside the EU and the statement by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis MP, that any new deal would be at least as good as what we have now. It is vital that UK businesses are able to continue to trade freely and sell services into our largest market after we leave, without additional costs or burdens or a hard border in Northern Ireland, and that we maintain close co-operation on defence, security, data and information sharing and consumer safety.
And should negotiations on a 'deep and special partnership' not prove successful, we consider that EFTA/EEA membership remains an alternative which would have the advantage of continuity of access for UK services and could also be negotiated relatively quickly."