The European Union politicians have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that Britain may not be entirely out of the European Union until 2022.
They are also demanding that the European Court of Justice “settle any legal challenges” over the process of leaving the EU.
The warnings are contained in a draft response from the European Parliament to the Prime Minister’s letter formally triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that takes Britain out of the EU.
It is the first official response from the EU institutions to Mrs. May’s letter, which is due to be delivered by hand to the European Council this morning.
Contents of the letter have been discussed by officials in London and Brussels for weeks which is the reason why the motion has been able to be drafted.
The response discloses details of Mrs. May’s letter, saying that the UK states in its “notification of 29 March 2017 its intention to remain outside the justification of the Court of Justice of the European Union”.
It adds that the “UK Government has stated in the same notification that its future relationship with the European Union will not include membership of the Single Market nor membership of the Customs Union”.
The motion makes it clear that any deal will be “limited in scope as they can never be a substitute for union membership”.
The motion, which is due to be debated by MEPs in the European Parliament next week – sets out that “transitional arrangements” between the UK and EU “should not exceed three years”.
This means that the UK should leave the EU at the latest by 2022.
Across 11 pages of clauses, Mrs. May is warned the EU will protect its political, financial and social interests, and that the position for the UK even during the transition period will not be as positive as it is today.
A withdrawal agreement, covering financial liabilities, citizens’ rights and the border in Ireland, will need to be accepted by a qualified majority of 72 per cent of the EU’s remaining 27 member states, representing 65 per cent of the population.
The motion also says that Britain should pay all its liabilities “arising from outstanding commitments as well as make provision for off-balance sheet items, contingent liabilities and other financial costs that arise directly as a result of its withdrawal”.
However there is no mention of the European Commission’s Euro 60billion bill for Britain to leave the EU.
The motion also states that:
- A future deal “can only be concluded once the United Kingdom has withdrawn from the EU”.
- There may be a transitional deal for after 2019 to ensure that custom controls and barriers on trade are not enforced on day one of Brexit, but that these arrangements should not exceed three years and will be “limited in scope as they can never be a substitute for union membership”.
- Britain will be allowed to perform an about turn on its decision to leave the EU but this “cannot be used as a procedural device or abused in an attempt to improve the actual terms of the United Kingdom’s membership”.
- There will be no special deal for the City of London “providing UK-based undertakings preferential access to the single market and, or the customs union”.
- The cut-off date after which EU nationals coming to the UK lose the automatic right to residency in the UK must not be before 29 March 2019, when the country leaves the EU, or the British government will be breaking EU law.
- Britain should pay all its liabilities “arising from outstanding commitments as well as make provision for off-balance sheet items, contingent liabilities and other financial costs that arise directly as a result of its withdrawal”.
- The outcome of the negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship “cannot involve any trade-off between internal and external security including defense cooperation, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand”.
The European parliament’s resolution is non-binding but MEPs can veto any deal in 2019, and it has been working with the European commission on setting out the acceptable parameters for the negotiations in this first intervention.