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The EU and UK agreed a Political Declaration (PD) setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship, alongside the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), on 17 October 2019. The October PD and WA revised the earlier PD and WA texts agreed by Theresa May’s Government and the EU in November 2018. The PD was a non-binding document but set out an initial set of joint commitments on the shape of the future EU-UK partnership. See Commons Library briefing paper CBP8714 Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations.  

The EU’s negotiating position was set out in the directives adopted by the Council of the EU on the 25 February. This was based largely on the proposed directives presented by the European Commission on 3 February, although there were some amendments following consideration by the Member States. The EU’s position on certain key principles for the negotiations was also clear from earlier statements by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Slides published by the Commission in January 2020, and materials published by the Commission to accompany the draft directives on 3 February, also provided more detail.

The UK Government published a command paper setting out its approach on 27 February. This elaborated on positions previously set out in a House of Commons written statement by the Prime Minister on 3 February. Statements from the Prime Minister, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, the UK chief negotiator David Frost and select committee evidence from Mr Gove and Mr Frost have also provided more detail on the Government’s position.

The UK and EU positions going into the negotiations were summarised in the Library briefing paper CBP8834, The UK-EU future relationship negotiations: process and issues. Reports from the first three round of negotiations and statements from both the UK and EU since the negotiations began are summarised in Library briefing paper CBP8923 The UK-EU future relationship: the March 2020 EU draft treaty and negotiations update.

More library analysis of the two sides’ positions in particular policy areas can be found here.

The European Commission published a draft future relationship treaty on 18 March which provides more clarity and detail on its position (analysed in CBP8923). The UK published ten draft treaty texts covering the suite of agreements it is proposing on 19 May.

The positions of the UK and EU in the negotiations, based on their proposed treaty texts and other publicly available statements, are summarised in the attached tables.

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