Dear Ms Davies,
18th December, 2017
Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. Your letter has been passed onto the Department for Exiting the EU and we are responding on her behalf.
On 29 March 2017, the Prime Minister notified the EU of the UK’s decision to withdraw under Article 50, following consideration of the issue in both Houses of Parliament and the passing of an Act of Parliament, supported by a majority of 494 to 122 in the House of Commons. The British people voted to leave the EU and we are delivering on their instruction.
Since June of this year, we have worked intensively with our European partners to settle the issues in the first phase of our negotiations to leave the EU. We have made good progress and have reached agreement with the EU’s negotiators on some very difficult issues.
Both sides have had to show give and take to meet the other’s concerns, as the Prime Minister always said would be needed, and we have made the best offer we can. The UK and EU negotiating teams have issued a joint report which can be found here:
The report details the progress the negotiating teams have made on the three areas covered in the first phase of negotiations. It sets out:
- a fair deal on citizens’ rights that allows for UK and EU citizens to get on with their lives broadly as now in the country they live;
- a financial settlement that honours the commitments we undertook as members of the EU – as we said we would. It is a fair delivery of our obligations, in light of the spirit of our future partnership; and;
- an agreement on the island of Ireland that preserves the territorial integrity of the UK and the stability that has been brought about by the Belfast Agreement. The solution will see no hard border or physical infrastructure at it.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has agreed that this report represents sufficient progress and that we should now move on to the talks about our future partnership. We welcome the Commission’s conclusion. This is an important step forward for both sides and demonstrates the interests we share in managing our exit smoothly, and in moving the negotiations on.
We want our future relationship with the EU to be a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We are confident that this is in the interests of both sides, so we approach these negotiations anticipating success. However, a responsible Government should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. That is exactly what we are doing across the whole of government.
What is important now is that the country comes together and focuses its energies towards securing a successful deal, building a new relationship with the EU which guarantees our long term prosperity.
DExEU Correspondence Team