Philip Dunne asks the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union if, following next week’s EU Council meeting, the negotiations will be able to move beyond the transition arrangements?
Is my right hon. Friend able to reassure the House that, following next week’s EU Council meeting, the negotiations will be able to move beyond the transition arrangements?
On the implementation period, we have made significant progress in a number of areas, and although negotiations are still ongoing, we are confident that we can reach an agreement on that at next week’s EU Council. As my hon. Friend will be aware, article 50 is clear that the withdrawal agreement shall be agreed in line with the framework for the future relationship. We expect new European Union guidelines covering the negotiation of the terms of our future relationship to be agreed at the March Council, as set out by the EU in December. The Prime Minister has set out a vision of the breadth and depth of the future relationship in a number of speeches, and we hope that the EU guidelines will be sufficiently flexible to allow the EU to think creatively and imaginatively about our future partnership. Indeed, I say to him that at least half the effort in the past three months has been aimed at ensuring that we get those flexible, open and broad guidelines by addressing that very issue with the 27 who make up the Council, as well as the Commission.