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Factbox - EU's vision of post-Brexit transition and future ties with Britain

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Factbox - EU's vision of post-Brexit transition and future ties with Britain

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union wants a post-Brexit transition in which Britain would no longer have a say in the bloc but would still fall under EU laws, according to EU documents and diplomats of the bloc’s 27 remaining states. Here is a summary of the EU’s vision of both the immediate period after Britain leaves the bloc and its future trade relationship, as outlined in the documents seen by Reuters ahead of a meeting of the 27 on Wednesday. The EU plans to engage with Britain on these two issues only after the first, ongoing round of divorce talks advances enough to merit new negotiations with London on what comes after Brexit. The current, slow-moving talks have focused mainly on matters surrounding Britain’s actual split from the bloc, namely the exit bill, safeguarding expatriate rights and the future Irish border. The EU is waiting for Britain’s moves on these key issues before it agrees to open talks about the transition and future ties. That may happen in December but is not a given.

* Crucially, the EU is determined to ensure Brexit does not leave Britain better off economically or otherwise, as this could create a precedent undermining the bloc’s purpose and existence in the future. A discussion document for the Wednesday meeting in Brussels hence says that “a non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.” * Britain’s request for a transition period of about two years in which the status quo would be largely preserved “would require a temporary application of Union law to and within the United Kingdom together with… regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures,” it reads. * EU 27 will look further into how such a temporary arrangement would impact the bloc’s cooperation with third countries, including on trade, fisheries or air transport. * The bloc will also seek to ensure Britain adheres to EU rules – including any changes – during transition, and the possible avenue for communication with London since it would “no longer be represented in the EU institutions and participate in the decision-making process.” * For any agreement on the future ties with London, the EU expects safeguards to preserve financial stability and rules out British participation in parts, but not all, of its single market. * The bloc is keen to protect itself against “unfair competitive advantages through… tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices.” * Beyond trade, the EU is keen to maintain cooperation with Britain on security – including fighting terrorism and international crime – defence and foreign policy. * The bloc seeks a “balance of rights and obligations” for Britain and is determined to preserve the “indivisible” four freedoms of its single market – of goods, capital, services and labour. * Inside the bloc, the EU wants to preserve the role of the top European Court of Justice, from whose jurisdiction London wants to remove itself. * After Britain leaves, no agreement between the EU and UK would apply to Gibraltar without a separate accord between London and Madrid. * In preparing their own stance on transition and future ties, the 27 will “bear in mind the UK position.” (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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