On 29 May 2017, ten days before the UK General Election, the European Commission’s Brexit Task Force published two Draft Position Papers on Article 50. The position papers are based on two Working Papers which were distributed to Member States last week, setting out initial negotiating positions and providing clarity on the approach to be followed by Michel Barnier and his team as talks get underway.
On 1 May 2017, the new Europol regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/794), which was adopted by the European Parliament on 11 May 2016, came into force, taking effect in all member states. This regulation updates Europol’s powers and enables it to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organised forms of crime.
As the EU-27 prepare for the European Council meeting on 29 April which will set the negotiating mandate for the forthcoming talks with the UK Government, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, has given an insight into his approach to the demanding task to be undertaken by himself and his carefully assembled Brexit Task Force.
On 29 March 2017, the British Government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by letter, delivered in person by it Permanent Representative to the EU to the President of the European Council. This action brings to mind the importance of letters in the history of the relationship between the UK and the European Community/Union from the 1950s when the UK declined to participate in the creation of the EEC. Five such letters are covered here, with a brief introduction and reproduction either of the full text or of key passages.
These often-quoted words, attributed to the British civil servant, Russell Bretherton, marked the moment when the United Kingdom walked away from the 1955 Messina conference where the foundations were being laid for the treaty which would be signed by the leaders of the Six in Rome on 25 March 1957.
The first day of Spring saw the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, launch a White Paper on the Future of Europe, subtitled ‘Reflections and Scenarios for the EU27 by 2025’. This is the EU executive’s contribution to the debate which will take place at the special European Council meeting in Rome on 25 March celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957.