What now? The pending backlog of Brexit

27 approve the agreement of the Brexit Macron warns that the EU needs a re-foundation "in depth" The calendar of the Brexit What have been agreed at

What now? The pending backlog of Brexit

27 approve the agreement of the Brexit

Macron warns that the EU needs a re-foundation "in depth"

The calendar of the Brexit

What have been agreed at the Brussels Summit?

The 27 have been given the nod to two different documents. On the one hand, the Agreement Output. A legal text, primary law of the EU, 585 pages, 185 articles and three protocols (one of them on Gibraltar). On the other, the Political Declaration about the future relationship, which is a political document, but not legal, of 36 pages, which outlines how all parties want it to be the link between the two blocks from 2021.

do you Want to say that that has finished the negotiation?

Or a lot less. The Departure Agreement now goes to the phase of the ratifications, the European Parliament and Westminster. If the Parliament, by simple majority, gives his approval, a process that could last several months, the text will revert back to the capitals that it be adopted at a General Affairs Council (comprising ministers and secretaries of State of European Affairs).

do you Exceed the procedure british?

No one knows. The british Government believes that is enough, and Theresa May has promised to fight for it, but has to overcome formalities very difficult. In his party, in Parliament and in british society. At the beginning of December comes the first examination.

What deadlines are there?

London triggered the Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU on 29 march 2017, and the law gives two years for the negotiation. That is to say, that on the 30th of march of the next year the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the EU. There is agreement or not. That is why there are now quite a hurry, because the step by parliaments can be slow and tiresome.

Would it be possible to extend these deadlines?

Yes, legally it is possible, but it is politically complicated. If there is no alternative and provided that there is unanimity absolute by all parties, could manage an extension, but not very long. On the 26th of may, elections were held for european and everything is prepared for that United Kingdom does not participate in them. That's why you can't extend merrily the date of the 29 of march, because if you remain a Member State should participate in the elections. The legal services are studying what formulas could be used. The most simple thing, if it were such a need, it would be to win a few extra weeks to close the entire Agreement of Output, but in any case before the elections. Another possibility, much more risky, would be to extend even a bit further, past the elections, but before the establishment of the next European Parliament. Something very far-fetched and that generates a lot of skepticism.

Is it possible to change the Departure Agreement?

Nothing is impossible at all in the EU, but in this concrete, almost. The 27 would give the nod despite his reservations (the case of Gibraltar is the most obvious) has required a titanic effort. To many capital cities, starting with Madrid, I have been told that the text of the Agreement of Output could not be touching, which would result in an absolute chaos if all the world would like to amend something. The offer is that is. Or a take it or leave. If after 18 months of grueling negotiations between the best experts of both parties has not been able to go more far, the margin of change or improvement in a few weeks is minimal.

what Are the 27 satisfied with the Agreement of Exit and the Political Declaration about the future relationship?

In general, yes. Believe that is the best thing that could have been made and reasonably good agreement, despite the fact that there are many weak points, some legal doubts and, as summed up today any leader, there are important areas, they are simply "promises about future promises." It is impossible that in 585 pages written, time trials do not appear cracks in the next few months. The architecture outlined is not perfect, and if you have to implement everything referred to will arise contradictions. That is assumed. But this is only the first part. From the 30th of march starts the second phase of the negotiations, of the Future Relationship, what will be the legal framework, political, economic and trade between the EU and the Uk. And that is all by writing.

Are you satisfied Spain with the formula of Gibraltar?

Reasonably. Has not been able to go beyond. To be able to close the Agreement Out, the team of Michel Barnier has had to go beyond the limits of its mandate. He, in theory, only negotiated the conditions of the withdrawal, but not the structure of the future relationship. However , to solve the crisis of Northern Ireland and avoid the possibility that in the future, to become the borders hard and put in danger the peace process and the Agreements of good Friday, has had to innovate. Brussels and London have adopted a 'backstop', a guarantee mechanism that could be activated if in the next few years, negotiators do not manage to design an alternative to the Single Market and the Customs Union. This implies to define some things of the future relationship. And there, by the back door, he has entered Gibraltar.

How has been that?

Spain had assurances from its partners, from April 2017, that Madrid would have the last word on Gibraltar in any negotiation with the United Kingdom which affected the Rock. But that only covered to the negotiation of the Agreement Output, (up to now) and during the so-called Period of Transition, the phase that is open from march 30 until December of 2020, during which the United Kingdom will cease to be a Member State, but will be within the Single Market, the Customs Union and under the umbrella of the Court of Justice of the EU. The obligations but without voice, vote or veto. Moncloa demanded that that last word has been preserved then, when vague to negotiate the relationship and the next few decades. And that was not clear enough.

What references were there?

In the Political Declaration that the leaders have agreed to this Sunday, there is no reference to Gibraltar. The Departure Agreement included a Protocol as a whole, and specific to Gibraltar. But an article that appeared at the last minute, 184, angered Madrid. Because defined too vague and problematic legal issues crucial. The Departure Agreement, as reflected in article 3, covers and affects Gibraltar. But the 184 stated that the future discussions would be respected the legal orders of each part, which could open the door to that London to make claims about the Rock using a kind of back door. The legal services of the European Commission and the Council saw no problem, but Spain itself.

What has gotten Spain?

has Not succeeded to modify neither the Agreement of Output or the Policy Statement. To change, given a "triple guarantee", according to Pedro Sanchez. A letter from the president of the European Commission and the European Council showing your support. In addition, a statement of the European Commission and the European Council (of 27 members) in support of the interpretation of Spain on Article 184, and in addition they say that any future agreement between the EU and the Uk affecting Gibraltar requires the express consent of Spain.

Those documents do not have the same weight, political and legal, that the Departure Agreement. Form part of an annex to the minutes of the European Council that has been held this Sunday, but is not included even in the conclusions of the same. It is a usual formula, which is interpreted by decisions of the Council, but within the jargon and the processes of Brussels, is not much less than the maximum level. Is no doubt a political commitment of the 27 member states and of the European Commission, which endorsed the promise, in the future, because it is obliged to respect that idea. It is more than what was Spain up to now, but much less also of what they were looking for. The main trick is in the next few months. The output is as it is, but any step now requires complete unanimity, and that is why Spain already speaks out issues such as the sovereignty of the Rock.

And what does it say United Kingdom?

The third guarantee is a letter sent by the ambassador of the United Kingdom in Brussels (not by May, and not by chance), in which his majesty's Government agree to interpret the meaning of article 184 in the line of Spain. But nothing more. The United kingdom does not waive anything over Gibraltar, nor sovereignty, nor his role or anything. The only ones that are committed to give you the last word in concrete negotiations are partners with continental.

Are you all happy?

Not exactly. There are countries like France who understand that Spain has asserted its position before it was late. But other delegations disagree and fear that the noise of the Rock complicate matters even more the position of Theresa May. A diplomat has shown his anger, ensuring that what is committed by the 26th: "it has No legal validity, ( ... ), is like saying that the sun rises every morning", something political and that's that. The Government, for its part, with a boundless optimism but nothing justified it and sell it as a historical success, which gives Spain an extraordinary position.

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Updated Date: 26 November 2018, 08:01

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