Brexit Negotiation Directives on the EU-UK Transition Period

January 31, 2018


The EU Council has published a further set of negotiation directives for the second phase of the negotiations. The document covers issues related to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and transition arrangements.

Regarding the transition period, the document stipulates that the EU acquis, that is the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of EU law, should apply to and in the UK as if it were a Member State as well as any changes to the EU acquis, which should automatically apply to and in the UK, during the transition period. During the transition period, EU law covered by these transitional arrangements should deploy in the UK the same legal effects as those which it deploys within the Member States of the EU. This means, in particular, that the direct effect and primacy of EU law should be preserved. The UK must continue to participate, during this period, in the Customs Union and the Single market (with all four freedoms), and continue to comply with the EU trade policy. Furthermore, during the transition period, the UK may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the fields of competence of Union law, unless authorised to do so by the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement should, during the transition period, preserve the full competences of the EU institutions (in particular the full jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union). Also, during the transition period the UK will not attend meetings of committees. Exceptionally, and on a case-by-case basis, the UK could be invited to attend without voting rights.

The transition period should apply as from the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement and should not last beyond 31 December 2020.


This article appears in the JHA January 2018 Tax Newsletter, which also features:

    1. C-504/16 and C-613/16 Deister Holding and Juhler Holding – Anti-Treaty Shopping rules breach EU law
    2. AG Opinion in Bevola case C-650/16 – Marks & Spencer applied to cross border definitive losses

You can download the whole newsletter as a PDF: January 2018 – Newsletter