Draft Withdrawal Agreement 19 March 2018: Still a Way to Go


Today, the European Union and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the transition period for Brexit: from March 29 of next year, date of disconnection, until December 31, 2020. The news are of course available in the press, and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 has already been published… coloured: In green, the text is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks. In yellow, the text is agreed on the policy objective but drafting changes or clarifications are still required. In white, the text corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are ongoing as no agreement has yet been found. For ongoing judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters (Title VI of Part III, to be applied from December 31, 2020: see Art. 168), this actually means that subject to “technical legal revisions”, the following has been accepted:

  • Art. 62: The EU and the UK are in accordance as to the application by the latter (no need to mention the MS for obvious reasons) of the Rome I and Rome II regulations to contracts concluded before the end of the transition period, and in respect of events giving rise to damage, and which occurred before the end of the transition period.
  • Art. 64: There is also agreement as to the handling of ongoing cooperation procedures, whereby requests for service abroad, the taking of evidence and in the frame of the European Judicial Network are meant.
  • Art. 65: There is agreement as well as to the way Council Directive 2003/8/EC (legal aid), Directive 2008/52/EC on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matter, and Council Directive 2004/80/EC (relating to compensation to crime victims) will apply after the transition period.

Conversely, no agreement has been found regarding Art. 63, i.e., how to deal with jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions, and related cooperation between central authorities (but whatever is agreed will also be valid in respect of the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 as applicable by virtue of the agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark, see Art. 65.2, in green).

In the light of this it may  be not really worth to start the analysis of the Title as a whole: Art. 63 happens to be the less clear provision. Some puzzling expressions such as “as well as in the Member States in situations involving the United Kingdom” are common to approved texts, but may change in the course of the technical legal revision. So, let’s wait and see.

NoA: Another relevant provision agreed upon – in green-  is Art. 124, Specific arrangements relating to the Union’s external action. Title X of Part III, on pending cases and new cases before the CJEU, remains in white.

And: On the Draft of February 28, 2018 see P. Franzina’s entry here. The Draft was transmitted to the Council (Article 50) and the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament; the resulting text was sent to the UK  and made public on March 15.