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23 May 2017

Council gives mandate to EC for starting Brexit negotiations

On 22 May 2017, the Council, meeting in an EU27 format, adopted a decision authorising the opening of Brexit negotiations with the UK and formally nominating the Commission as EU negotiator, with the necessary political and legal mandate. The Council also adopted negotiating directives for the talks. 

Both texts are based on a recommendation presented by the Commission on 3 May 2017 and build on the guidelines adopted by the European Council (Art.50) on 29 April 2017. This first set of negotiating directives prioritises issues that have been identified as necessary for an orderly withdrawal of the UK, including citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the situation of Ireland, as well as other matters in which there is a risk of legal uncertainty as a consequence of Brexit, such as dispute settlement and the governance of the withdrawal agreement.

The first phase of the talks aims at providing as much clarity and legal certainty as possible and to settle the disentanglement of the UK from the EU. Once the European Council deems sufficient progress has been achieved, the negotiations will proceed to the next phase. The negotiating directives may be amended and supplemented during the negotiations.

The European Commission (EC) has welcomed the Council's decision to authorise the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and to nominate the Commission as Union negotiator. The EC also welcomes the adoption of the first set of negotiating directives and has published its transparency policy for the Brexit negotiations.


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