European Union Committee report: UK-EU Relations after Brexit

The UK Government is beginning to understand the costs and compromises that will be needed to achieve a successful outcome in Brexit negotiations.

This is according to a June 2018 report by the House of Lords EU Select Committee on UK-EU relations after Brexit.

The report argues that the negotiations so far have put too great a focus on ‘red lines’, increasing the risk that the UK will leave the EU without an agreement on the future relationship.

It calls on both sides to  identifying benefits, areas of mutual interest, and to acknowledge that compromises will be needed.

The report’s key conclusions are:

  • The various models proposed for the future UK-EU relationship all deliver benefits, but all do so at a cost.
  • The benefits that the UK and the EU could derive from a deep and durable partnership may entail trade-offs between economic and political considerations. There is no ‘free lunch’ for either side.
  • Given the closeness of the referendum result, the Government must articulate an inclusive vision for future UK-EU relations to achieve an acceptable and durable outcome.
  • Time is short: in a matter of weeks the framework for future UK-EU relationship will be finalised. The delay and uncertainty that has surrounded the Government’s development of detailed, workable proposals is concerning.

The Committee states that the Government’s forthcoming White Paper will be judged against the following principles:

  • It should focus on achieving benefits from the future UK-EU relationship, rather than on defending ‘red lines’;
  • In particular, it should identify and build on areas of mutual UK and EU interests;
  • It should acknowledge that the benefits to be realised by means of the new relationship will come at a cost, requiring compromises and trade-offs;
  • It should express an inclusive vision of future UK-EU relations, commanding broad support;
  • It should use the language of partnership between the UK and the EU, and should acknowledge the potential evolution of the EU post-Brexit.

The report includes a colour-coded table showing the extent of agreement between the Government, the European Council and the European Parliament, across all policy areas. This will be updated as negotiations progress.

Read the report in full (pdf).