Governance is one of the principal sticking points in the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. This briefing paper outlines the key differences between the UK and EU approach.

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The UK and EU differ on how their future relationship should be governed. They differ on both the general ‘structure’ of the future relationship, in terms of its treaty architecture, institutional setup and oversight, and on the details of how dispute resolution between the parties is to work in the future relationship. The EU has proposed a draft treaty covering all aspects of the future EU-UK partnership with an overarching governance structure and a general dispute mechanism (with some exceptions to it). The UK has proposed ten separate treaties each with their own bespoke governance framework. 

The EU’s proposed dispute settlement involves a two-stage process beginning with consultation in a joint committee, followed by binding arbitration if the dispute cannot be resolved by consultations.  The arbitration panel would have to refer matters requiring interpretation of EU law to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The UK rejects the involvement of the CJEU in dispute settlement. It includes arbitration for some of its agreements, but in others it proposes a consultation process without arbitration. Where those consultations do not resolve a dispute, suspension of the agreements (in whole or in part) would be the parties’ last resort.

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