Brexit Transition in 4 Days: The rest of ‘the deal’

This post completes a review of the ‘UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ completed on Christmas Eve and – assuming it completes the ratification process in the next 72 hours – sets the terms as the UK leaves the EU ‘single market’ and ‘customs union’.

For an overview:  Brexit Transition in 6 Days: Overview of the ‘deal’ and immediate next steps in order to ratify it – Europartnership

For matters relating to trade plus some specific aspects such as aviation, energy and road transport: Brexit Transition in 5 Days: With only hours remaining – focus on high impact changes – Europartnership

In this post:  social security; cooperation on law enforcement and criminal justice; “thematic” issues, notably health collaboration; UK participation in EU Programmes; dispute settlement; and territorial limits.

Part 2 (continued from yesterday’s post)

Social Security Coordination and Visas for Short-term Visits:

  • Workers and employers are only liable to pay social security contributions in one state at a time. ‘Generally, this will be in the country where work is undertaken’;
  • where the UK or an EU Member State is responsible for the healthcare of an individual, they will be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover.  Healthcare provisions – akin to those provided by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme – continue.
  • the UK will treat the each of the EU 27 states ‘as a bloc’ with respect to ‘short-term visit visas’;


  • The UK’s leaves the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.  It has a ‘new identity as a sovereign independent coastal State’ with ‘the right to manage the resources in its waters’;
  • UK and EU share a ‘commitment to sustainable fisheries management’ alongside shared principles of ‘promoting long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability’;
  • Whatever value of fish is caught by EU vessels in UK waters, British fishers will be allowed to catch 25% in value of that sum in EU waters;
  • the new quota arrangements will be phased in over five years to allow the respective fleets time to adapt to the changed ‘opportunities’;
  • a specialised ‘Committee on Fisheries’ will provide a forum for the UK and the EU to discuss and cooperate on a range of fisheries matters.  These include, but are not limited to: cooperation ahead of annual fisheries consultations, multi-year strategies, data-sharing and monitoring and compliance;
  • EU vessels may fish in ‘Crown Dependency waters to levels consistent with historic patterns of fishing’;
  • the Agreement can be terminated at any point with nine months notice.

Part 3 – Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

  • DNA and fingerprint data will continue to be exchanged through the Prüm system;
  • the Agreement: enables the exchange of vehicle registration data in the future; provides for transfers of Passenger Name Record data from the EU to the UK; and information sharing ‘in response to requests’, as well as the ‘spontaneous provision of information, including that which relates to wanted and missing persons and objects’;
  • the Agreement does NOT: provide for the UK to continue membership of either Europol or Eurojust.  It is possible that the UK may be allowed to ‘second’ liaison officers to each of Europol and Eurojust.
  • the Agreement means that the UK is no longer a member of the EU-wide ‘arrest warrant’ scheme, but will have extradition arrangements, similar to the EU’s ‘Surrender Agreement’ along with Norway and Iceland;
  • the Agreement ‘supports effective cooperation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters’;
  • the Agreement provides for the ‘fast and effective exchange of criminal records data between the UK and individual EU Member States’;
  • the Agreement ‘commits the UK and EU to support international efforts to prevent and fight against money laundering and terrorist financing’;
  • the Agreement ‘supports effective cooperation on asset freezing and confiscation’;

Part 4 – Cooperation

Cooperation on Health Security: 

  • the Agreement supports effective arrangements and information sharing between the UK and the EU in the event of a serious cross border threat to health – particularly important in the context of Covid-19;
  • the EU may invite the UK to participate in the EU Health Security Committee to support the exchange of information and facilitate coordination in relation to specific serious cross-border threats to health.

Cooperation on cybercrime:

  • the Agreement provides a framework for UK-EU cooperation in the field of cyber security;
  • the UK may voluntarily participate in the activities of expert bodies including the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Cooperation Group.  It may voluntarily cooperate with the EU’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU).

Part 5 – UK participation in EU programmes such as Space exploration and Nuclear Energy

  • The Agreement sets out the arrangements for any UK participation in EU programmes and ‘access to programme services’ – including ‘how the UK’s financial contribution will be calculated’.
  • The UK has stated its intention to participate in: ‘Horizon Europe’, ‘Euratom Research and Training’, and ‘Copernicus’.  Details will be added in a protocol to the main Agreement when they have been finalised.

Part 6 – Disputes Resolution

  • The Agreement includes ‘dispute resolution mechanisms’ that are appropriate for a relationship between sovereign equals.
  • There is no role for the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • There is restatement by both UK and EU of their existing commitments to ‘human rights, the rule of law, the fight against climate change and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction’.
  • Both the UK and EU have restated their ‘commitment to high personal data protection standards’.
  • In the event that ‘serious economic, societal or environmental difficulty arises’ between them, the UK or the EU may unilaterally take ‘strictly proportionate and time-limited measures to remedy the situation’.

Part 7

  • The Agreement is subject to review every five years, or should a new country accede to the EU.
  • Territorial Scope of the Agreement includes Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, and the 50 Worldwide ‘UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies’

Related Agreements

  • The UK and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) have agreed a separate Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA).
  • An Agreement on ‘Security Procedures for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information’ will supplement the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

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