The Irish chapter of the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement

Full text: The segment of the Brexit agreement that relates to Northern Ireland

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier delivers a statement after UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet meeting. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier delivers a statement after UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet meeting. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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UK prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet has agreed to move forward with the draft Brexit agreement reached with EU negotiators in Brussels this week.

Mrs May told reporters at Downing Street that she and her ministers had a long, detailed and impassioned debate on the draft withdrawal agreement and that she believed it was the “best that could be negotiated”.

Following Mrs May’s announcement, the EU released the full draft agreement. Here, we are publishing pages 302 to 327, the segment that relates to Northern Ireland.

PROTOCOL ON IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND

The Union and the United Kingdom,

HAVING REGARD to the historic ties and enduring nature of the bilateral relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom,

RECALLING that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union presents a significant and unique challenge to the island of Ireland, and reaffirming that the achievements, benefits and commitments of the peace process will remain of paramount importance to peace, stability and reconciliation there,

RECOGNISING that it is necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland through a unique solution in order to ensure the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union,

RECALLING that the Withdrawal Agreement, which is based on Article 50 TEU, does not aim at establishing a permanent future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom,

RECALLING the Union’s and the United Kingdom’s intention to replace the backstop solution on Northern Ireland by a subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing;

HAVING REGARD to the Union and to the United Kingdom’s common objective of a close future relationship, which will establish ambitious customs arrangements that build on the single customs territory provided for in this Protocol, in full respect of their respective legal orders,

AFFIRMING that the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998 between the Government of the United Kingdom, the Government of Ireland and the other participants in the multi-party negotiations (the “1998 Agreement”), which is annexed to the British-Irish Agreement of the same date (the “British-Irish Agreement”), including its subsequent implementation agreements and arrangements, should be protected in all its parts,

RECOGNISING that cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland is a central part of the 1998 Agreement and is essential for achieving reconciliation and the normalisation of relationships on the island of Ireland, and recalling the roles, functions and safeguards of the Northern Ireland Executive, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the North-South Ministerial Council (including cross-community provisions), as set out in the 1998 Agreement,

NOTING that Union law has provided a supporting framework to the provisions on Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity of the 1998 Agreement,

RECOGNISING that Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, by virtue of their Union citizenship, will continue to enjoy, exercise and have access to rights, opportunities and benefits, and that this Protocol should respect and be without prejudice to the rights, opportunities and identity that come with citizenship of the Union for the people of Northern Ireland who choose to assert their right to Irish citizenship as defined in Annex 2 of the British-Irish Agreement “Declaration on the Provisions of Paragraph (vi) of Article 1 in Relation to Citizenship”,

RECALLING the commitment of the United Kingdom to protect North-South cooperation and its guarantee of avoiding a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls, and bearing in mind that any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements,

NOTING that nothing in this Protocol prevents the United Kingdom from ensuring unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom’s internal market,

UNDERLINING the parties’ shared aim of avoiding, to the extent possible in accordance with applicable legislation and taking into account their respective regulatory regimes as well as their implementation, controls at the ports and airports of Northern Ireland,

RECALLING that the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union of 8 December 2017 outlines three different scenarios for protecting North-South cooperation and avoiding a hard border, but that this Protocol is based on the third scenario of maintaining full alignment with those rules of the Union’s internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement, to apply unless and until an alternative arrangement implementing another scenario is agreed,

NOTING that, in accordance with Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period may be extended by mutual consent,

RECALLING that the two Parties have carried out a mapping exercise, which shows that North-South cooperation relies to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework,

NOTING that therefore the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union gives rise to substantial challenges to the maintenance and development of North-South cooperation,

RECALLING that the United Kingdom remains committed to protecting and supporting continued North-South and East-West cooperation across the full range of political, economic, security, societal and agricultural contexts and frameworks of cooperation, including the continued operation of the North-South implementation bodies,

ACKNOWLEDGING the need for this Protocol to be implemented so as to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, including for possible new arrangements in accordance with the 1998 Agreement,

RECALLING the Union and the United Kingdom’s commitments to the North South PEACE and INTERREG funding programmes under the current multi-annual financial framework and to the maintaining of the current funding proportions for the future programme,

AFFIRMING the commitment of the United Kingdom to facilitate the efficient and timely transit through its territory of goods moving from Ireland to another Member State or another third country, or vice versa,

DETERMINED that the application of this Protocol should impact as little as possible on the everyday life of communities both in Ireland and Northern Ireland,

MINDFUL that the rights and obligations of Ireland under the rules of the Union’s internal market and customs union must be fully respected,

HAVE AGREED UPON the following provisions, which shall be annexed to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (“Withdrawal Agreement”):

ARTICLE 1

Objectives and relationship to subsequent agreement

1. This Protocol is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Agreement regarding the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent, which provides that any change in that status can only be made with the consent of a majority of its people.

2. This Protocol respects the essential State functions and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.

3. This Protocol sets out arrangements necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, avoid a hard border and protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.

4. The objective of the Withdrawal Agreement is not to establish a permanent relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom. The provisions of this Protocol are therefore intended to apply only temporarily, taking into account the commitments of the Parties set out in Article 2(1). The provisions of this Protocol shall apply unless and until they are superseded, in whole or in part, by a subsequent agreement.

ARTICLE 2

Subsequent agreement

1. The Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours to conclude, by 31 December 2020, an agreement which supersedes this Protocol in whole or in part.

2. Any subsequent agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom shall indicate the parts of this Protocol which it supersedes. Once a subsequent agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom becomes applicable after the entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement, this Protocol shall then, from the date of application of such subsequent agreement and in accordance with the provisions of that agreement setting out the effect of that agreement on this Protocol, not apply or shall cease to apply, as the case may be, in whole or in part, notwithstanding Article 20.

ARTICLE 3

Extension of the transition period

The United Kingdom, having had regard to progress made towards conclusion of the agreement referred to in Articles 1(4) and 2(1) of this Protocol, may at any time before 1 July 2020 request the extension of the transition period referred to in Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement. If the United Kingdom makes such a request, the transition period may be extended in accordance with Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

ARTICLE 4

Rights of individuals

1. The United Kingdom shall ensure that no diminution of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out in that part of the 1998 Agreement entitled Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity results from its withdrawal from the Union, including in the area of protection against discrimination as enshrined in the provisions of Union law listed in Annex 1 to this Protocol, and shall implement this paragraph through dedicated mechanisms.

2. The United Kingdom shall continue to facilitate the related work of the institutions and bodies set up pursuant to the 1998 Agreement, including the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Joint Committee of representatives of the Human Rights Commissions of Northern Ireland and Ireland, in upholding human rights and equality standards.

ARTICLE 5

Common Travel Area

1. The United Kingdom and Ireland may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (the “Common Travel Area”), while fully respecting the rights of natural persons conferred by Union law.

2. The United Kingdom shall ensure that the Common Travel Area and the associated rights and privileges can continue to apply without affecting the obligations of Ireland under Union law, in particular with respect to free movement for Union citizens and their family members, irrespective of their nationality, to, from and within Ireland.

ARTICLE 6

Single customs territory, movement of goods

1. Until the future relationship becomes applicable, a single customs territory between the Union and the United Kingdom shall be established (“the single customs territory”). Accordingly, Northern Ireland is in the same customs territory as Great Britain.

The single customs territory shall comprise:

(a) the customs territory of the Union defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013; and

(b) the customs territory of the United Kingdom.

The rules set out in Annex 2 to this Protocol shall apply in respect of all trade in goods between the territories referred to in the second subparagraph, as well as, where so provided, between the single customs territory and third countries. With a view to ensuring the maintenance of the level playing field conditions required for the proper functioning of this paragraph, the provisions set out in Annex 4 to this Protocol shall apply. Where appropriate, the Joint Committee may modify Annex 4 in order to lay down higher standards for these level playing field conditions.

The Joint Committee shall adopt before 1 July 2020 the detailed rules relating to trade in goods between the two parts of the single customs territory for the implementation of this paragraph. In the absence of such a decision adopted before 1 July 2020, Annex 3 shall apply.

By derogation from the third subparagraph, fishery and aquaculture products, as set out in Annex I to Regulation (EU) 1379/2013 (“fishery and aquaculture products”), shall not be covered by the rules set out in Annexes 2 and 4, as well as the rules referred to in the fourth subparagraph, unless an agreement on access to waters and fishing opportunities is applicable between the Union and the United Kingdom. In accordance with Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify such an agreement before 1 July 2020.

The Joint Committee may adopt decisions amending Annex 3 to this Protocol, where such amendments are necessary for the proper functioning of this paragraph. Such decisions may not amend the essential elements of this Protocol or the Withdrawal Agreement.

The second subparagraph of this paragraph is without prejudice to the specific arrangements set out in the Protocol relating to the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus.

2. Legislation as defined in point (2) of Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council shall apply to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland (not including the territorial waters of the United Kingdom). However, the Joint Committee shall establish the conditions, including in quantitative terms, under which certain fishery and aquaculture products brought into the customs territory of the Union defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 by vessels flying the flag of the United Kingdom and registered in Northern Ireland are exempted from duties.

The provisions of Union law listed in Annex 5 to this Protocol shall also apply, under the conditions set out therein, to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

Articles 30 and 110 TFEU shall apply to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

Quantitative restrictions on exports and imports shall be prohibited between the Union and Northern Ireland.

ARTICLE 7

Protection of the UK internal market

1. Nothing in this Protocol shall prevent the United Kingdom from ensuring unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom’s internal market.

Provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol which prohibit or restrict the exportation of goods shall only be applied to trade between the territories referred to in Article 6(1) to the extent strictly required by any international obligations incumbent on the Union. The United Kingdom shall ensure the full protection of international requirements and commitments that are relevant to the prohibitions and restrictions of exportation of goods from the Union to third countries as set out in Union law.

2. Having regard to Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom’s internal market, the Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours to facilitate, in accordance with applicable legislation and taking into account their respective regulatory regimes as well as their implementation, the trade between the part of the territory of the United Kingdom to which Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 applies by virtue of Article 6(2) and other parts of the territory of the United Kingdom. The Joint Committee shall keep under constant review the application of this paragraph and adopt appropriate recommendations with a view to avoiding, to the extent possible, controls at the ports and airports of Northern Ireland.

3. Nothing in this Protocol shall prevent a product originating from Northern Ireland from being presented as originating from the United Kingdom when placed on the market in Great Britain.

4. Nothing in this Protocol shall affect the law of the United Kingdom regulating the placing on the market in other parts of the United Kingdom of goods from Northern Ireland that conform with or benefit from technical regulations, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals or authorisations governed by provisions of Union law referred to in Annex 5.

ARTICLE 8

Technical regulations, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals and authorisations

1. Without prejudice to the provisions of Union law referred to in Annex 5, the lawfulness of placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland shall be governed by the law of the United Kingdom as well as, as regards goods imported from the Union, by Articles 34 and 36 TFEU.

2. Where provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol provide for the indication of a Member State, including in abbreviated form, as markings, labelling, tags, or by any other means, the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland shall be indicated as “UK(NI)” or “United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)”. Where provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol provide for the indication in the form of a numeric code, the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland shall be indicated with a distinguishable numeric code.

3. By way of derogation from Article 15(1) of this Protocol and from Article 7 of the Withdrawal Agreement, in respect of the recognition in one Member State of technical regulations, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals and authorisations issued by the authorities of another Member State, or by a body established in another Member State, references to Member States in provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol shall not be read as including the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland as regards technical regulations, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals and authorisations issued by the authorities of the United Kingdom or by bodies established in the United Kingdom.

The first subparagraph shall not apply to registrations, certifications, approvals and authorisations of sites, installations or premises in Northern Ireland issued by competent authorities of the United Kingdom, where the registration, certification, approval or authorisation may require an inspection of the sites, installations or premises.

The first subparagraph shall not apply to veterinary certificates, and official labels for plant reproductive material, required in provisions of Union law made applicable by this protocol.

The first subparagraph is without prejudice to the validity, in Northern Ireland, of assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals and authorisations issued, on the basis of provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol, by the competent authorities of the United Kingdom or by bodies established in the United Kingdom. Any conformity marking, logo or similar required by the provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol which is affixed by economic operators based on the assessment, registration, certificate, approval or authorisation issued by competent authorities of the United Kingdom or by bodies established in the United Kingdom shall be accompanied by the indication “UK(NI)”.

The United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland may not initiate objection, safeguard or arbitration procedures provided for in provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol as far as these procedures concern the technical regulations, standards, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals and authorisations issued by competent authorities of the Member State or by bodies established in Member States.

The first subparagraph does not prevent the test and release by a qualified person in Northern Ireland of a batch of a medicinal product imported into or manufactured in Northern Ireland.

ARTICLE 9

VAT and excise The provisions of Union law listed in Annex 6 to this Protocol concerning goods shall apply to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

The Joint Committee shall regularly discuss the implementation of this Article, and where appropriate, adopt the necessary measures for its proper application.

ARTICLE 10

Agriculture and environment

The provisions of Union law listed in Annex 5 to this Protocol shall apply, under the conditions set out therein, to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

ARTICLE 11

Single electricity market The provisions of Union law governing wholesale electricity markets listed in Annex 7 to this Protocol shall apply, under the conditions set out therein, to and in the United Kingdom in respect

of Northern Ireland.

ARTICLE 12

State aid

1. The provisions of Union law listed in Annex 8 to this Protocol shall apply to the United Kingdom, including with regard to measures supporting the production of and trade in agricultural products in Northern Ireland, in respect of measures that affect that trade between the part of the territory of the United Kingdom to which Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 applies by virtue of Article 6(2) of this Protocol and the Union which is subject to this Protocol.

2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, the provisions of Union law referred to in that paragraph shall not apply with respect to measures taken by the United Kingdom authorities supporting the production of and trade in agricultural products in Northern Ireland up to a determined maximum overall annual level of support, and provided that a determined minimum percentage of that exempted support complies with the provisions of Annex 2 to the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

The determination of the maximum exempted overall annual level of support and the minimum percentage shall be governed by the procedures set out in Annex 9.

3. Where the European Commission examines information regarding a measure by the United Kingdom authorities that may constitute unlawful aid subject to paragraph 1, it shall ensure that the United Kingdom is kept fully and regularly informed of the progress and outcome of the examination of that measure.

The European Commission and the independent authority referred to in Article 9 of Annex 4 shall establish the administrative arrangements necessary to the proper implementation of this Article and Part Four of Annex 4 respectively, and keep those arrangements under review.

ARTICLE 13

Other areas of North-South cooperation

1. Consistent with the arrangements set out in Article 6(2) and Articles 7 to 12 of this Protocol, and in full respect of Union law, this Protocol shall be implemented and applied so as to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, including in the areas of environment, health, agriculture, transport, education and tourism, as well as in the areas of energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, higher education and sport.

In full respect of Union law, the United Kingdom and Ireland may continue to make new arrangements that build on the provisions of the 1998 Agreement in other areas of North-South cooperation on the island of Ireland.

2. The Joint Committee shall keep under constant review the extent to which the implementation and application of this Protocol maintains the necessary conditions for North-South cooperation.

The Joint Committee may make appropriate recommendations to the Union and the United Kingdom in this respect, including on recommendation from the Specialised Committee.

ARTICLE 14

Implementation, application, supervision and enforcement

1. Without prejudice to paragraph 4, the authorities of the United Kingdom shall be responsible for implementing and applying the provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

2. Without prejudice to paragraph 4, Union representatives shall have the right to be present during and receive, upon request, all relevant information relating to any activities of the United Kingdom authorities related to the implementation and application of provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol. The United Kingdom shall facilitate that presence of Union representatives and provide them with the information requested. Where the Union representative requests the United Kingdom authorities to carry out control measures in individual cases for duly stated reasons, the United Kingdom authorities shall carry out those control measures.

3. The practical working arrangements related to the exercise of the rights of Union representatives referred to in paragraph 2 shall be determined by the Joint Committee, upon proposal from the Specialised Committee.

4. As regards Article 6(2), and Articles 8 to 12 of this Protocol, as well as Article 7(1) of Annex 4 to this Protocol in respect of measures of the Member States, the institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies of the Union shall in relation to the United Kingdom, and natural and legal persons residing or established in the territory of the United Kingdom, have the powers conferred upon them by Union law. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as provided for in the Treaties in this respect. The second and third subparagraphs of Article 267 TFEU shall apply to and in the United Kingdom in this respect.

5. Acts of the institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies adopted in accordance with paragraph 4 shall produce in respect of and in the United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which they produce within the Union and its Member States.

6. When representing or assisting a party in relation to administrative procedures arising from the exercise of the powers of the institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies of the Union referred to in paragraph 4, lawyers authorised to practise before the courts or tribunals of the United Kingdom shall in every respect be treated as lawyers authorised to practise before courts or tribunals of

Member States who represent or assist a party in relation to such administrative procedures.

7. In cases brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union pursuant to paragraph 4:

(a) the United Kingdom may participate in the proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union in the same way as a Member State;

(b) lawyers authorised to practise before the courts or tribunals of the United Kingdom may represent or assist a party before the Court of Justice of the European Union in such proceedings and shall in every respect be treated as lawyers authorised to practise before courts or tribunals of Member States representing or assisting a party before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

ARTICLE 15

Common provisions

1. For the purposes of this Protocol, any reference to the United Kingdom in the applicable provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement shall be read as referring to the United Kingdom or the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland, as the case may be.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Protocol, any reference in the applicable provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and of this Protocol, as well as in the provisions of Union law made applicable to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland by this Protocol, to the territory defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 shall be read as including the part of the territory of the United Kingdom to which Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 applies by virtue of

Article 6(2) of this Protocol.

For the purposes of the first subparagraph of Article 6(1), the term “customs territory” shall have the same meaning as in Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

Titles I and III of Part Three, as well as Part Six shall apply without prejudice to the provisions of this Protocol.

2. For the purposes of Article 6(1) of this Protocol:

- “third country” shall mean a country or territory which does not belong to the customs territories referred to in Article 6(1) of this Protocol;

- “part of the single customs territory” shall mean, on the one hand, the customs territory of the Union defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 and, on the other hand, the United Kingdom customs territory.

3. Notwithstanding Articles 4(4) and 4(5) of the Withdrawal Agreement, the provisions of this Protocol referring to Union law or concepts or provisions thereof shall in their implementation and application be interpreted in conformity with the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

4. Notwithstanding Article 6(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement, and unless otherwise provided, where this Protocol makes reference to a Union act, the reference to that act shall be read as referring to it as amended or replaced.

5. Where the Union adopts a new act that falls within the scope of this Protocol, but neither amends nor replaces a Union act listed in the Annexes to this Protocol, the Union shall inform the United Kingdom of this adoption in the Joint Committee. Upon request of the Union or the United Kingdom, the Joint Committee shall hold an exchange of views on the implications of the newly adopted act for the proper functioning of this Protocol within 6 weeks after the request.

As soon as reasonably practical after the Union has informed the United Kingdom in the Joint Committee, the Joint Committee shall either:

(a) adopt a decision adding the newly adopted act to the relevant Annex of this Protocol; or

(b) where an agreement on adding the newly adopted act to the relevant Annex to this Protocol cannot be reached, examine all further possibilities to maintain the good functioning of this Protocol and take any decision necessary to this effect.

If the Joint Committee has not taken a decision within a reasonable time, the Union shall be entitled, after giving notice to the United Kingdom, to take appropriate remedial measures. Such measures shall take effect at the earliest 6 months after the Union informed the United Kingdom in accordance with the first subparagraph, but in no event earlier than the date on which the newly adopted act is implemented in the Union.

6. By way of derogation from paragraph 1 of this Article and from Article 7 of the Withdrawal Agreement, unless the Union considers that full or partial access by the United Kingdom or the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland, as the case may be, is strictly necessary to enable the United Kingdom to comply with its obligations under this Protocol, including because access to the relevant information cannot be facilitated by the working group referred to in Article 17 of this Protocol or by any other practical means, the following shall apply: in respect of access to any network, information system, or database established on the basis of Union law, references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States in provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol shall not be read as including the United Kingdom or the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland, as the case may be.

7. Authorities of the United Kingdom shall not act as leading authority for risk assessments, examinations, approvals and authorisation procedures provided for in Union law made applicable by this Protocol.

8. Articles 346 and 347 TFEU shall apply to this Protocol as regards measures taken by a Member State or by the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.

ARTICLE 16

Specialised Committee

The Committee on issues related to the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland established by Article 165 of the Withdrawal Agreement (“Specialised Committee”) shall:

(a) facilitate the implementation and application of this Protocol;

(b) examine proposals concerning the implementation and application of this Protocol from the North-South Ministerial Council and North-South Implementation bodies set up under the 1998 Agreement;

(c) consider any matter of relevance to Article 4 of this Protocol brought to its attention by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and the Joint Committee of representatives of the Human Rights Commissions of Northern Ireland and Ireland;

(d) discuss any point raised by the Union or the United Kingdom that is of relevance to this Protocol and gives rise to a difficulty; and

(e) make recommendations to the Joint Committee as regards the functioning of this Protocol.

ARTICLE 17

Joint consultative working group

1. A joint consultative working group on the implementation of the Protocol is hereby established. It shall serve as a forum for the exchange of information and mutual consultation.

2. The working group shall be composed of representatives of the Union and the United Kingdom and shall carry out its functions under the supervision of the Specialised Committee, to which it shall report. The working group shall have no power to take binding decisions other than that referred to in paragraph 6.

3. Within the working group:

(a) the Union and the United Kingdom shall, in a timely manner, exchange information about planned, ongoing and final relevant implementation measures in relation to the Union acts listed in the Annexes to this Protocol;

(b) the Union shall inform the United Kingdom about planned Union acts within the scope of this Protocol, including those amending or replacing the Union acts listed in the Annexes to this Protocol;

(c) the Union shall provide to the United Kingdom all information the Union considers relevant to allow the United Kingdom to fully comply with its obligations under the Protocol; and

(d) the United Kingdom shall provide to the Union all information that Member States provide to one another or the Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies pursuant to the Union acts listed in the Annexes to this Protocol.

4. The working group shall be co-chaired by the Union and the United Kingdom.

5. The working group shall meet at least once a month, unless otherwise decided by the Union and the United Kingdom by mutual consent. Where necessary, information referred to in points (c)

and (d) of paragraph 3 can be exchanged between meetings.

6. The working group shall adopt its own rules of procedure by mutual consent.

7. The Union shall ensure that all views expressed and information (including technical and scientific data) provided by the United Kingdom in the working group are communicated to the relevant Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies without undue delay.

BREXIT: The Facts

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