I have just debriefed the Ministers of the EU27 on the agreement that we reached last week at negotiators' level on the draft Withdrawal Agreement, as well as on the outline of the political declaration on the future relationship.
We are in fact at a decisive moment in this process. No one should lose sight of the progress that has been achieved in Brussels and in London.
I am pleased that Ministers today supported the overall package. In particular, Member States support the draft Withdrawal Agreement. On the EU side, we still need to determine the internal procedure of the Union for agreeing to extend the transition. But globally speaking, this deal is fair and balanced.
It takes into account the UK positions. In particular, we have found a compromise to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Both sides, both parties want to avoid using the backstop.
Finally, this deal allows for the orderly withdrawal which is in our common interest. An orderly withdrawal is the condition to lay the ground for an ambitious partnership.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have also informed Ministers of the state of play of the discussions on the framework for the future relationship. Discussions on that declaration are ongoing – now, today – with the UK negotiators. This is now our focus. The declaration will open the door to negotiations on an ambitious, economic and strategic partnership in the future once the UK will have left.
In any case, for the future relationship, both the EU and the UK will have full control of their own legislation and rule-making. This is essential, on our side, for the integrity of the single market. It is essential for the UK in terms of taking back control.
Now, more than ever, we must all remain calm – and I will remain calm – and keep our focus on the need for the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion. [...]