Requests relating to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (the "Backstop")

Ihre Anfrage war teilweise erfolgreich.

Dear Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:
The European Commission documents in the links listed below and quotes from them, indicate that the EU views the the Northern Irish Backstop as not constituting a permanent relationship between the UK and the EU and that it intends that the protocol will only apply temporarily. Given that a “a subsequent EU-UK agreement” could permanently elude the parties, the term “unless and until” appears to contradict the EU’s stated view on the lack of permanence of the Backstop.

Please provide copies of all European Commission documents which include reference/s to:
1. The non-permanent nature of the Northern Irish Backstop?
2. The EU’s view on timescale/s which would accord with its intention that the Backstop should only “apply temporarily”?
3. The EU’s planning for circumstances in which “a subsequent EU-UK agreement” eludes the parties beyond the temporary period it intends the Backstop to be in place for?

List of EC documents:-
* “The United Kingdom's proposals for a temporary customs arrangement show a certain willingness to make progress. But they do not for instance show how regulatory alignment would work. They also raise a number of new questions in practice, such as: How can the backstop have an expiration date if the commitment to no hard border does not?”
https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/news/addres...

* ““How long will the backstop apply for? The aim of the Protocol is not to create a permanent relationship between the EU and the UK.” https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/tags/eu_en

* “The Protocol is therefore only intended to apply temporarily, unless and until a subsequent EU-UK agreement is put in place.”https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/tags/irelan...

* “How long will the backstop apply for? The aim of the Protocol is not to create a permanent relationship between the EU and the UK” https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/news/brexit...

* “The Protocol is therefore only intended to apply temporarily, unless and until a subsequent EU-UK agreement is put in place.” https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/news/brexit...

* “The Protocol is therefore only intended to apply temporarily, unless and until a subsequent EU-UK agreement is put in place.” http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEM...

* “How long will the backstop apply for? The aim of the Protocol is not to create a permanent relationship between the EU and the UK.” http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEM...

I have provided my address previously in a private email and confirm it again for this request.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Paul Vincent Mc Crory

Dear Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom,

I believe that according to European Law, the response to to my request is now overdue. Please post the response today or provide a statement explaining the legal exception which is being relied on for not doing so?

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Paul Mc Crory

Task Force für die Vorbereitung und Durchführung der Verhandlungen mit dem Vereinigten Königreich gemäß Artikel 50 EUV

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    FW access to documents request Requests relating to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland the Backstop Ref.Gestdem 2018 613.pdf

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Dear Mr Mc Crory

Thank you for your message,
Please be informed that we are taking care of your request. You will find enclosed copy of the acknowledgement of receipt you received further to your request of 30 January 2019, mentioning the time limit for reply to 22 February 2019.

Yours sincerely,

European Commission
Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU (TF50)
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

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Dear Taskforce on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom,
Thank you for your reply.
Yours faithfully,
Paul Mc Crory
==============================================================================
OCR E&EO copy of reply for Ask The EU records:-

[Subject: Your application for access to documents - Ref GestDem No 2019/613

Dear Mr Mc Crory,

We refer to your application of 30/01/2019, registered on 01/02/2019 under the above mentioned reference number, by which you made a request pursuant to Regulation No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents .
You requested documents, which include reference to:

/. The non-permanent nature of the Northern Irish Backstop?

2. The EU's view on timescale/s which would accord with its intention that the Backstop should only "apply temporarily"?

3. The EU's planning for circumstances in which "a subsequent EU-UK agreement" eludes the parties beyond the temporary period it intends the Backstop to be in place for?

We refer to the following documents in relation to your questions:
• Joint report from the EU and UK negotiators of 8 December 2017, which in paragraph 49 states:
"The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom's intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the allisland economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement. "

• Withdrawal Agreement, Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, which in Article 2.1 and 2.2 states:
"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. "
"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. "

• Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK, which in paragraph 19 states:
"The Parties recall their determination 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. "
In the Political declaration, paragraphs 141 and 142, both parties also committed to engage in preparatory organizational work between the approval of the declaration and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union, "with the aim of enabling rapid commencement of and progress in formal negotiations. "
"This work should draw up a proposed schedule to deliver the work programme required, having identified the areas likely to require the greatest consideration, such as those elements related to the alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing. "

• In the letter to Prime Minister May, on 14 January 2019, the President of the European Commission reiterated that the Commission is determined to give priority in its work programme to the discussion of proposals that might replace the backstop with alternative arrangements.
"Should the parties need more time to negotiate the subsequent agreement, they could decide to extend the transition period, as foreseen in the Withdrawal Agreement. In that case, the Commission is committed to redouble its efforts and expects the same redoubled efforts from your negotiators, with the aim of
concluding a subsequent agreement very rapidly. Were the backstop to enter into force in whole or in part, it is intended to apply only temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement. The Commission is committed to providing the necessary political impetus and resources to help achieving the objective of making this period as short as possible. To this end, following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, and until a subsequent agreement is concluded, the Commission will support making best use of the high level conference foreseen in the Political Declaration to meet at least every six months to take stock of progress and agree the appropriate actions to move forward. "5

The EU and the UK committed in Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement to use their best endeavours to conclude the agreements governing their future relationship before the end of 2020, which could supersede the Protocol in whole or in part.

Finally, let us also clarify, that the temporary nature of "the Protocol in whole or in part" is event limited, unless and until a subsequent EU-UK agreement is put in place.

In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review this position.
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon receipt of this letter to the Secretariat-General of the Commission at the following address:
European Commission Secretariat-General
Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents (SG.C.l) BERL 5/282 B-1049 Bruxelles]