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COUNCIL DECISION on the conclusion of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK (Dic-4-2018)

Actualizado: 24 mar 2020


The protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and its 10 Annexes include the provisions necessary for the so-called “backstop” solution for avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


This will apply unless and until it is superseded, in whole or in part, by any subsequent agreement. The Protocol creates a single EU-UK customs territory. This will avoid the need for tariffs, quotas or checks on rules of origin between the EU and the UK. It also foresees a set of measures to ensure that there is a level playing field between the EU and the UK. Furthermore, the Protocol ensures that the Union's Customs Code (UCC), setting out, inter alia, the provisions for releasing products into free circulation within the EU, will continue to apply to Northern Ireland.


This will ensure that Northern Irish businesses will not face restrictions when placing products on the EU’s Single Market. The Protocol also foresees that the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of rules that are related to the EU’s Single Market and indispensable for avoiding a hard border: legislation on goods, sanitary and phytosanitary rules (“SPS rules”), rules on agricultural production, VAT and excise, and state aid rules. There are also provisions maintaining the Single Electricity Market on the island of Ireland. Pursuant to the Protocol, the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the United Kingdom and its associated rights and privileges will continue to apply in conformity with EU law, in particular on free movement of EU citizens. North-South cooperation will also continue as set out in the Protocol, including in the areas of environment, health, agriculture, transport, education and tourism, as well as in the areas of energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, higher education and sport.


Bilateral negotiations between Spain and the United Kingdom have now concluded. A Protocol referring to these bilateral arrangements is annexed to the Withdrawal Agreement.


The Protocol forms a package with bilateral memoranda of understanding between Spain and the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar. This concerns bilateral cooperation on citizens' rights, tobacco and other products, environment, police and customs matters, as well as a bilateral agreement in relation to taxation and the protection of financial interests. On citizens' rights, the Protocol establishes the basis for administrative cooperation between the competent authorities for the implementation of the Withdrawal in relation to people living in the Gibraltar area, and in particular frontier workers. On air transport law, it establishes the possibility, in case of an agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom on the use of the Gibraltar airport, to make applicable to Gibraltar during the transition the Union legislation previously not applicable there.


On fiscal matters and protection of financial interests, the Protocol establishes the basis for administrative cooperation between the competent authorities for achieving full transparency in tax matters, fighting against fraud, smuggling, and money laundering. The United Kingdom also commits that international standards in this area are complied with in Gibraltar. In relation to tobacco, the United Kingdom commits to ratify certain conventions in respect of Gibraltar and to put in place before 30 June 2020 a system of traceability and security measures on cigarettes. In respect of alcohol and petrol, the United Kingdom commits to ensure that a tax system which aims at preventing fraud is in force in Gibraltar. On environment protection and fishing and cooperation in police and customs matters, the Protocol establishes the basis for administrative cooperation between the competent authorities. A specialised committee is also established for overseeing the application of this Protocol.


Article 4(1) and Article 13 of Annex 3 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland stipulates that the Union shall set out the specimen and explanatory notes for the A. UK. Movement Certificate and, respectively, the specimen for the label to be affixed on the postal consignments referred to therein. Such specimens are necessary to be used as documentary evidence that a good is within the scope of Annex 2 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. For that purpose, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission to establish the format of these specimens and explanatory notes, including technical specifications. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council. For this purpose, the Commission should be assisted by the Customs Code Committee established by Article 285 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council



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