Withdrawal Agreement Commons Library
In a recent commentary, it was stated that EU negotiators would prefer that future agreements be as faithful as possible to existing social security coordination provisions, but that the UK government prefers a much less comprehensive agreement, which covers only certain contributory benefits.  The Government`s statement of 27 February on the UK`s action in the negotiations on future relations with the EU seems to confirm that this is indeed their starting point: the British Parliament will have to proceed with two approval procedures before the UK can ratify the withdrawal agreement. Both the EU Law (Withdrawal Act 2018) and the Constitutional Reform Act 2010 and the Governance Act (CRAG) are obstacles to the UK`s ability to ratify the negotiated agreement. The Withdrawal Act also provides for parliamentary procedure in the event of a rejection of an agreement by the House of Commons or if a negotiated agreement is ever reached. On 13 November 2018, the EU decided that “decisive progress” had been made in the Brexit negotiations, and on 14 November the European Commission and the UK Government published a draft withdrawal agreement as well as three protocols (on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the SOVEREIGN territories of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and Gibraltar) and nine annexes. The text of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations were approved by EU heads of state and government at a specially convened European Council on 25 November 2018. Within the jurisdiction of the European Union Withdrawal Act (Withdrawal Act 2018), current EU rules on social security coordination are transposed into UK domestic law, with amendments to address “deficiencies” caused by the UK`s withdrawal from the EU. These “maintained” arrangements would come into force at the end of the transition period if there was no agreement on future relations with the EU or if there was no agreement on social security. This would ensure that social security coordination would continue in this scenario, but only to the extent that the UK could unilaterally apply the rules. For example, the UK would not be able to compel EU Member States to exchange information on individual contribution documents. Since the beginning of 2019, the House of Lords committee has taken on a new temporary role in revising these replacement agreements. The House of Commons response was less structured: several House of Commons committees received evidence from departments of the contract continuation program, but (according to the House of Commons report) “there is little coordination between them and little experience in controlling contracts to be used.” Several committees in both chambers have begun to call for additional control powers for contracts (new committee agreements, much more government information, previous parliamentary commitment, etc.), so that the balance between Parliament and the government could shift in Parliament`s favour with regard to treaties (while respecting the fact that the real negotiation is conducted by the government).