The Political Declaration accompanying the draft Withdrawal Agreement has been largely overlooked in the furore over the Northern Ireland backstop. However, the two are closely linked. The letter written to the PM by Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk on 14 January confirms that: “it can be made clear that these two documents, while being of a different nature, are part of the same negotiated package.”
- The Joint Statement on the Political Declaration issued at Strasbourg on 11 March reinforces its terms, making it the assured final destination for the UK in any “future partnership” talks concluded under Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
- The “partnership” to be negotiated under the PD is not optional. The timetable for talks would be set by the EU, and the UK would have to agree to the EU’s demands in order to exit the backstop.
- The PD outlines terms that would make the UK a permanent second-class member of the EU, with obligations to implement EU trade, tax, environmental, state aid, competition, agricultural and other policies but with no say on the formation of those policies. It formalises on a permanent basis the onerous conditions and institutions contained within the backstop.
- The governing institution of the UK’s new associate status would be the WA’s “Joint Committee responsible for managing and supervising the implementation and operation of the future relationship” – in other words, a supranational authority unaccountable to Parliament.
- Any dispute under EU law (which dominates the entire agreement) would have to be referred to the European Court of Justice for a binding ruling, thus submitting the UK to the permanent jurisdiction of a foreign court.
- This is far beyond what is necessary for the normal free-trade, low-friction customs arrangement which the EU has with other third countries.
- Like the Withdrawal Agreement, the PD represents a very bad deal for Britain and an even worse deal for democracy.
The Political Declaration: a Brief Analysis
The PD aims to push the UK into a permanent customs union, causing serious damage to our economic future https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/mays-customs-union-con-tricks/
Fourteen reasons why a customs union is a terrible idea.
Membership of the EU has already caused serious and quantifiable damage to our economy: to tie ourselves to it indefinitely would be an incredible act of self-harm.
The Strasbourg Joint Statement on the Withdrawal Agreement: EU Adds Fourth Lock to Withdrawal Agreement