The financial settlement is one of the priorities for an ‘orderly withdrawal’ of the UK, outlined in the European Council guidelines for the Brexit negotiations in April 2017. It refers to the financial commitments which the UK has signed up to as part of the EU budget to the end of 2020, as well “as those related to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Central Bank (ECB)”. The Joint Report, agreed by EU and UK negotiators in December 2017, states that “the UK will contribute to, and participate in, the implementation of the Union annual budgets for the years 2019 and 2020 as if it had remained in the Union”.
On 22 September 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a speech in Florence, Italy at what she referred to as “a critical time in the evolution of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union”. In the Renaissance church of Santa Maria Novella, she called for an ‘implementation period’ between the ratification of the final Withdrawal Agreement and a future relationship deal between the EU and UK. During the speech, Prime Minister May also said that “the UK will honour commitments it has made during the period of our membership”, and proposed to write legal protections for EU citizens living in the UK into national law.
The four freedoms, established in the Treaty of Rome (1957), are the pillars of EU law and represent the key principles of the EU, underpinning the EU’s Single Market. They are the freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital across borders within the EU. In relation to Brexit, the European Council President, Donald Tusk, has said that “access to the Single Market requires acceptance of all four freedoms, including the freedom of movement”.
Free Trade Agreement
In her letter invoking Article 50, UK Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the UK government “wants to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU”. According to EU law, before the EU and UK can agree a future free trade agreement, they must first complete the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement. Negotiations under Article 50 may take into account the framework for the future relationship, but the Article states that an agreement on the future relationship itself must be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which outlines the process for reaching agreements with third countries, those countries outside the EU.
The term ‘future relationship’ is used to refer to the relationship between the EU and UK post-Brexit. Numerous options, or models, for this relationship have been proposed based on existing agreements the EU has with other non-EU countries, such as the ‘Canada option’ or the ‘Norway model’. These models vary in terms of their sectoral scope and in the depth of a potential future relationship. Under Article 50, the EU and UK must first resolve the issues arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU before they can reach a deal on their future relationship.