General Affairs Council Formally Authorises the Opening of Brexit Negotiations

The European Union General Affairs Council in Brussels today adopted the decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom on Brexit and designating the Commission formally as EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives for the negotiations on Brexit.

The adoption of these texts makes it possible to enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU (under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union). EU).

“The guidelines we have adopted today are a good basis for the first phase of the negotiations; They give the negotiator of the Union the necessary support to negotiate a good agreement, an agreement that will be first and foremost in the interest of citizens,” said Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

The negotiating directives adopted by the ministers concern the first phase of the negotiations. Accordingly, those directives give priority to certain issues which have been deemed necessary for the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom, including citizens’ rights, the Financial Regulation and the situation in Ireland.

The Council also adopted a decision to set up an ad hoc working group to assist the Council and Coreper in all areas related to the exit from the United Kingdom of the Union.

Image: Jean Asselborn (centre), with chief negotiator Michel Barnier and France’s minister for European affairs, Marielle de Sarnez