The Brexit files: A rundown of the UK's position papers

London - Brexit talks between the UK and the European Union (EU) resume next week after Prime Minister Theresa May’s government released a series of position papers on its ambitions for the divorce and afterwards.

Here are links to the papers and what they set out:

Future customs arrangements

The UK wants to maintain something akin to customs union membership for an interim period, granting goods exporters tariff-free, bureaucracy-light commerce with the EU while both sides sort out their future relationship. Industry lobby groups welcomed this.

The UK also said it wants to be allowed to spend the transition lining up trade deals with other countries.

Enforcement and dispute resolution

In what was seen as the biggest compromise by May so far, the paper stated her government would accept a “close cooperative relationship” with the European Court of Justice, in which both past and future rulings would still apply to the UK.

It suggested the government is open to monitoring EU case law, abiding by past ECJ rulings, taking future ones into account, and even referring decisions to it.

Northern Ireland and Ireland

One of the three priority areas identified by the EU. Britain set out its intention not to return to a hard border with Ireland. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar expressed skepticism at the UK proposal and said more progress needed to be made.

Safeguarding the position of citizens

Britain laid out its plan to safeguard the entitlements of Europeans living in Britain. The proposal is conditional on the EU making a matching promise to British nationals residing on the continent. 

Citizens’ rights have so far proved one of the most contentious points of the negotiations.

Nuclear materials

The paper outlined the government’s decision to leave Euratom. Following a backlash from lawmakers and the industry, Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK could still seek associate membership of Europe’s nuclear regulator.

Britain is rejecting calls for it to retain membership as it would make it subject to ECJ rulings.

Goods on the market

The British government reiterated it wants the “freest and most frictionless trade possible.” To achieve that, it asked that goods placed on the market before exit day continue to be sold in the UK and the EU afterwards.

To avoid repeated compliance checks, the paper also proposed products that received approval before Brexit still be valid after the point of departure.

Confidentiality and access to documents

Britain called for a reciprocal agreement on confidentiality and the handling of information.

Ongoing Union judicial proceedings

This paper spelled out the UK position for the judicial and administrative proceedings ongoing at the point of exit from the bloc. It noted cases that were not in front of the courts on the day would no longer be subject to ECJ jurisdiction.

Privileges and immunities

The paper set out that Britain would guarantee that EU organisations and agencies could continue operating in Britain for a transitional period after Brexit.

Exchange and protection of personal data

Britain asked for the status quo to be maintained after Brexit and for a role in shaping future policy. It argued the UK risked damaging crucial parts of its technology industry unless it could secure an unprecedented deal with the EU on data exchange after Brexit.

Civil and judicial cooperation framework

Proposed how to handle future civil cases, such as cross-border business disputes, as well as divorce and child-custody issues.

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