The future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom: Negotiating a framework for relations after Brexit

Study 25-09-2018

Following the European Council's additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started discussions on their future relationship after Brexit. The aim is to agree on a political framework for their future partnership by autumn 2018, to be adopted alongside the withdrawal agreement. Conclusion of a treaty or treaties establishing future EU-UK relations will only take place after the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country. Both parties have expressed the desire to remain in a close partnership, which would cover several areas including trade and economic matters, internal security, foreign and security policy, and cooperation on defence. This study looks at the respective aims for, and principles underpinning, the negotiations, as expressed publicly to date by each party, and analyses some of the legal constraints and existing practices or precedents shaping EU cooperation with third-country partners. This allows assessment of the possibilities and limits of any future EU-UK partnership, in light of the stated objectives and 'red lines' officially announced, leading to the conclusion that, notwithstanding several common aims, significant divergences still persist with respect to the means of achieving the stated objectives.