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Brexit: The Compromise

Andrew Duff

Date: 14/02/2019
Andrew Duff has written a proposal to amend the Political Declaration, available at

In this EPC paper he explains his project. He argues that the only route to British acceptance of the withdrawal package deal is to make substantial improvements to the Declaration that has been provisionally endorsed by the UK and the EU 27.

Duff argues that a reliable Commons majority for the deal can only be found if the outline of the future association agreement is made clearer and future relations with the EU are shaped closer than originally intended by the prime minister.

The recent exchanges between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn suggest that they share more common ground than they admit. Both want a permanent customs accord for trade in goods, and will agree on commitments in law to maintaining the EU acquis in workers’ rights and environmental protection. Neither want the Irish backstop to be triggered. Further concessions by both are necessary and possible.

The legal standing of the Political Declaration should be enhanced to provide greater assurance on the question of the Irish border. A new protocol attached to the Withdrawal Agreement could act as a useful legal bridge with the Political Declaration.

Lastly, Duff warns against an extension of Article 50 beyond 30 June.

Read the full paper here

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