The document, released yesterday, sent alarm bells ringing among eurosceptics as it failed to put an end date to Britain’s transition period.
Instead the length of the transition, which begins on the Brexit date of March 29 2019, “should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare” for new trading arrangements to be established.
Downing Street quickly moved to deny suggestions Britain was heading for a never-ending transition, saying a date would be set soon.
Officially, Britain has said it would prefer to a implement a two-year transition phase after it leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019, while the EU wants cases closed by December 31, 2020.
Theresa May is set to thrash out tensions at a Brexit Cabinet sub-committee meeting today at Chequers – the country house of the Prime Minister – which is intended to reach an agreement on the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU.
While Tory Eurosceptics turned attention to the “deeply troubling” transition speculation, some other important details slipped under the radar.
The document outlines specific EU treaties which will cease to have power on the UK once Britain leaves the bloc next year.
Here are the key things you need to know:
1. Britain will have no place at the voting table to counter issues which affect the UK
Britain will not be able to vote on key legislative, regulatory or monetary matters that directly affect the country.
This will begin when the UK formally leaves the bloc in springtime next year until the agreed end date of the transition period.
The change will also mean that the European Court of Justice will continue to have its hold on the UK, being able to fine British companies or individuals which do not comply with their rules.
2. Britain still has to hand money over to the EU defence fund throughout the implementation period
The UK will still have to contribute money to the European Defence Initiative – otherwise known as the EU army after – throughout the implementation period.
The total sum that Britain will send to the military project over the period is not yet known.
The only way Britain can get out of paying money to the bloc is if MEPs vote against it, as recommended and then adopted by the Council.
3. EU citizens not registered as a national lose the right to vote
The subject of the rights of EU nationals living in Britain was among the three key issues which, as well as the issue of the Northern Ireland/Ireland border and a so-called divorce bill, allowed Phase One of negotiations to progress.
But details within the Government’s document, cross-referenced with the EU treaty it cites, reveals that any person of the EU living in the UK of which is not a national will lose the right to vote.
It will also mean those living in the UK from the EU not registered as a national will not be able to stand as a candidate at municipal elections in Britain.
This would effectively mean that if there was a referendum on the final deal – or Britain’s membership of the EU altogether – those from the EU not registered as nationals will not be able to vote.
4. New inventions made can be free of Brussels red tape
New inventions made in the UK will not be subject to Brussels red tape as of March 29 next year.
Currently, an inventor in member states can protect an invention via a national, unitary or European patent.
But the unitary patent, of which Britain is a member, has so far meant high regulation on British-made inventions and money lost due to red tape.
Being out of it means the EU will not be able to clip the wings of British inventors.
5. No official end date to the implementation period
The most talked about topic from the implementation period draft legal text was that Theresa May is planning to ask the EU for flexibility on the length of the Brexit transition period, and is refusing to put a timeframe on the process.
The draft legal document published by the Government states: “The UK believes the period’s duration should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin the future partnership.
“The UK agrees this points to a period of around two years, but wishes to discuss with the EU the assessment that supports its proposed end date.”