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The sixth round

The sixth round of Brexit negotiations took place on 9 and 10 November 2017. This round was unscheduled but was considered necessary by both sides, given the relative lack of progress in previous rounds and the EU’s condition that “sufficient progress” must be made on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Ireland-Northern Ireland border before starting discussions on future EU-UK relations.

Progress in the priority areas

Citizens’ Rights

Some progress was made on citizens’ rights and the two sides are seeking political solutions to some outstanding issues. Discussions were about options for resolving issues such as family reunification, exporting social security benefits and a role for the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The EU’s approach to mutual recognition of professional qualifications still falls short of the UK’s offer and the EU has not yet included voting rights in local elections within the scope of a future Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK confirmed its commitment to incorporate the agreement on citizens’ rights into UK law, so that EU citizens in UK will be able to enforce their rights in UK courts. The Government published a paper on new administrative procedures for EU citizens seeking settled status in the UK, which, it says, will be as streamlined, straight-forward and transparent as possible.

Financial Settlement

Technical progress was made, but the UK Government did not suggest a figure for a financial settlement. The Government is reported to be considering raising its offer to around €40 billion. The Prime Minister has promised that the other 27 EU Member States will not pay more or receive less over the current EU budget plan as a result of Brexit and that the UK will honour commitments made during its period of EU membership.

Ireland-Northern Ireland border

Joint principles were drafted on continuing the Common Travel Area and associated rights. Discussions explored how best to preserve North-South cooperation, the challenges around the border, and how to avoid any physical infrastructure. David Davis believes a conclusion will only come in the context of the future relationship.

There is a commitment to upholding the Good Friday Agreement and a mutual recognition of the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, but not the creation of a new border inside the UK.

Other developments

Internal EU discussions about the future

Towards the end of October EU leaders began internal discussions on the UK’s future relations with the EU, including transitional arrangements, future UK-EU bilateral relations and agreements in areas such as trade, defence and security.

Exit day

On 9 November 2017, Theresa May announced that the Government would table amendments to the EUW Bill to fix ‘exit day’ for all purposes of the Bill at 11:00 pm GMT on 29 March 2019.

New bill on the Withdrawal Agreement

On 13 November David Davis announced that the Government would introduce a Bill to implement the withdrawal agreement – the ‘Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill’. Clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill provides for the withdrawal agreement to be implemented by secondary legislation, but the use of primary legislation will allow time and opportunity for parliamentary debate and a vote on the final agreement. The new Bill will cover the contents of the agreement and will be in addition to and after the vote the Government promised on a motion on the final Brexit deal before the European Parliament votes on it.

The European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority get new homes

The other 27 EU Member States voted for Amsterdam and Paris to host the two UK-based EU agencies, the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority.

More money for Brexit

In his autumn budget report on 22 November Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that to prepare for leaving the EU and ensure a smooth transition, the Government was setting aside an additional £3 billion.

Other Library briefings on the negotiations

The last five rounds of negotiations are discussed in Commons Briefing Papers 8068, Brexit: the July negotiations, 8082, Brexit: the August negotiations, 8104, Brexit: the September negotiations and 8125, Brexit: the October negotiations

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