Leaving the EU: negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy Contents
2Negotiating parameters for energy and climate change
The Government’s general negotiating parameters
9.In her Lancaster House speech, the Prime Minister announced that the UK will pursue a “new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the EU”. The Government’s guiding principles for the negotiations were set out in a White Paper and the letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, notifying the EU of the UK’s departure. The White Paper stated that the Government “is considering all options for the UK’s future relationship with the EU on energy”. Other general Government negotiating objectives likely to affect negotiations on energy and climate change include:
- ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK, and seeking a new approach for dispute resolution and interpretation of agreements with the EU;
- leaving the Single Market;
- controlling the number of people immigrating to Britain from the EU;
- ending our current membership model in the Customs Union, and specifically leaving the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, with no aim to replicate existing customs arrangements between the EU and third parties;
- making no contributions to the EU budget, although the UK will make ‘appropriate contribution’ to any EU programmes in which we participate;
- agreeing the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal; and
- converting the body of existing EU law (the ‘acquis’) into British law at the point of our departure, and allowing Parliament to decide any future changes to that law.
10.In her Lancaster House speech, the Prime Minister also indicated:
- a possibility to adopt “elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas”, for example for the production of cars and lorries as well as for financial services; and
- a possible option to “become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it”.
The EU’s negotiation parameters
11.The European Council and the European Parliament’s published draft principles for the negotiations in some cases conflict with those of the Government. Key draft European principles for energy and climate change include:
- membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union entails acceptance of the four freedoms, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, budgetary contributions and adherence to common commercial policy;
- a non-EU member without the obligations of a Member State cannot have the same (or similar) rights and benefits as a Member State;
- the Council is prepared to work towards an ambitious free trade agreement with the UK, to be concluded after the UK’s departure, but this cannot amount to participation in the Single Market;
- participation in the Single Market on a sectoral basis is not allowed;
- a future relationship could be framed in terms of an association agreement;
- any future agreement will be conditional on the UK’s continued adherence to the standards provided by international obligations, including EU legislation and policies on the environment, climate change, fair competition, trade and social policy, and tax evasion; and
- the UK must continue to enjoy its rights and respect its obligations under EU Treaties until it leaves.
12.With regards to the scheduling of discussions, the European bodies have said that:
- discussions on our future relationship cannot be held until the terms of the UK’s withdrawal are settled, and agreement on our future relationship cannot be concluded until the UK has withdrawn from the EU;
- negotiations can be held on transitional arrangements of up to three years, but only if and when good progress has been made towards the withdrawal agreement; the European Court of Justice must be responsible for settling legal challenges brought under transitional arrangements; and
- no separate negotiations can be held between individual Members States and the UK on withdrawal manners.
There are clearly substantial differences in the starting positions of the two sides in the negotiation, as is to be expected. In making recommendations in this Report, we have sought to take into account these overarching parameters and the inevitable lack of certainty around the eventual outcome.