Draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

With the late breaking news of the draft Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom, there follows the agreed test awaiting approval by both Parliaments.

We have obtained the draft documents from the European Union website for initial review and for download by those interested in following these developments.

As this website covers environmental news and developments, this article will cover the key issues from an environmental and sustainability perspective with a specific coverage of the level playing field issue that both Parties should maintain and development environmental protection rather than to weaken it over time.

This first section of the draft Agreement establishes the basis for a broad relationship between the Parties, within an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation, respectful of the Parties’ autonomy and sovereignty.

Following the general provisions on Part One, Part Two provides for the agreement on Transparency (Title IX), Good regulatory practices and regulatory cooperation (Title X) & Level playing field for open and fair competition and sustainable development (Title XI).

Specifically, the level playing field includes significant environmental provisions. Here we highlight the key issue of environmental and sustainable aspects of the level playing field:

This Title recognises for both Parties, that trade and investment between the Union and the United Kingdom require conditions that ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition between the Parties and that ensure that trade and investment take place in a manner conducive to sustainable development.

They Parties recognise that sustainable development encompasses economic development, social development and environmental protection, all three being interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and affirm their commitment to promote the development of international trade and investment in a way that contributes to the objective of sustainable development.

This Title provides that both Parties will not weaken or reduce, in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties, its environmental levels of protection or its climate level of protection below the levels that are in place at the end of the transition period, including by failing to effectively enforce its environmental law or climate level of protection.

This is a key environmental provision of the draft Agreement and will ensure that the environmental protection is not weakened in the post-transition period (i.e. 1 January 2021).

I am sure that there will be other key issues that will be relevant to you and the organisations that you serve.

To help you assess the impact of the draft Agreement on your environmental and sustainability issues, I have provided links to all the current documents available from the EU website below:

The Draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The Draft EU-UK Security of Information Agreement

The Draft EU-UK Civil Nuclear Agreement

The Draft EU-UK Declarations

Press release: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: protecting European interests, ensuring fair competition, and continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest

Questions & Answers: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Remarks by Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier at the press conference on the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations – 24 December 2020

Press conference by European Commission President Ursula von der LEYEN and Chief Negotiator Michel BARNIER, on the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations – 24 December 2020

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: A new relationship, with big changes – Brochure

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: A new relationship, with big changes – Overview of consequences and benefits

EU-UK Relations: From the UK referendum to a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement – Timeline

EU-UK Relations: From the UK referendum to a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement – Infographic

EU-UK Relations: Big changes compared to benefits of EU membership. Checklist

I hope that this short article and links to the key draft documents will be useful to your review of the draft EU / UK Agreement.

If you have any comments on this article or the draft EU / UK Agreement, please leave your comments below.

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