NHS European Office

Brexit negotiations underway

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European parliament

The first of the Article 50 negotiations took place on 19 June, with the European Commission and UK government agreeing terms of reference – the guiding principles for the negotiations. 

"Today, we agreed on dates. We agreed on organisation. We agreed on priorities for the negotiation," the European Commission's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said at the end of the first day of talks.

"In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner.

"Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship."

Process and priorities

Negotiations will follow the sequence set out by the EU 27, with terms of the 'divorce' being addressed first, followed by negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU, and only when enough progress has been made on the divorce issues. 

Each month will see one week of discussions take place, with the time in between being used to exchange and work on proposals. The first full round of talks will begin on 17 July.

Among the first issues to be addressed will be citizens rights, agreement on the financial settlement and the border separating Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.    

The UK government published a paper laying out its negotiating position on citizens' rights on 26 June.  

The European Commission has already published its final position papers on citizens' rights and the financial settlement. This follows publication on 22 May of the European Council's negotiating directives, where it formally nominated the European Commission as EU negotiator.
  
The negotiating directives cover four main areas:

  • Safeguarding the status and rights of citizens – EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU – and their families in the EU.
  • Agreement on the principles of the financial settlement. 
  • Maintaining the Good Friday Agreement and avoidance of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
  • Finding arrangements regarding dispute settlement and the governance of the withdrawal agreement.

The text complements the European Council guidelines for the negotiations of 29 April and the European Parliament's own resolution on its priorities for negotiations, agreed on 5 April. 

You can keep up to date with the negotiations via the European Commission's dedicated Article 50 Task Force web page.

New Brexit Health Alliance

With Brexit negotiations underway, a new alliance has been formed to safeguard the interests of patients and the healthcare and research they rely on. 

The Brexit Health Alliance, which brings together the NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations, will seek to make sure that issues such as healthcare research, access to technologies and treatment of patients are given the prominence and attention they deserve in the Brexit negotiations. 

Launched at the NHS Confederation's annual conference in June, the alliance will be co-chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, the former permanent secretary of the Department of Health, and Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation. 

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