Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
102. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether the transition period allows for sufficient time for a future trading relationship to be agreed between the EU and the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44541/19]
103. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if it is still legally possible for the UK to leave the EU without a deal at the end of the transition period if the withdrawal agreement reached between the EU and the UK is passed in the House of Commons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44542/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.
The Government remains firmly of the view that ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom on 17 October remains the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal. A no deal outcome is in no one’s interests. Once the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, the provisions in respect of citizens’ rights, financial obligations and the protocol on Northern Ireland remain in place even if no agreement on a future relationship is reached by the end of the transition period.
The shared intention of the EU and the UK, as set out in the Political Declaration on the future relationship, is to conclude agreements giving effect to the future relationship by the end of 2020, including an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership. The EU is ready to start negotiations on a future relationship as soon as the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified.
While the goal is to conclude a future relationship agreement by the end of 2020, the Withdrawal Agreement provides that the transition period may be extended by one or two years. Such a decision must be taken jointly by the EU and the UK. At the same time, it should also be noted that the Political Declaration states that the European Commission is ready to propose applying on a provisional basis relevant aspects of the future relationship, in line with the applicable legal framework.
We continue work to prepare for Brexit. Even with an agreement, it is still the case that the UK is leaving the EU and this will bring change.