Readout of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee: 17 December 2020

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The Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee met today, 17 December, by video conference.

The meeting was co-chaired by the UK Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, and European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, and attended by alternate Joint Committee co-chairs, the First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Member State representatives.

The Committee undertook a review of Specialised Committee activity and Withdrawal Agreement implementation throughout the transition period. The Committee agreed to publish the second citizens’ rights Specialised Committee Joint Report on Residency and to finalising the list of arbitrators before the end of the transition period. The Joint Committee also adopted the following five Decisions:

Citizens’ rights

  1. Triangulation of social security coordination between the UK, EU, European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) States;

The Northern Ireland Protocol

  1. Agricultural subsidies;

  2. Determination of goods not at risk;

  3. Errors and omissions in the Withdrawal Agreement;

  4. Arrangements under Article 12(2) of the Protocol.

Both the UK and EU made five unilateral declarations relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol:

  1. Export declarations;

  2. Meat products;

  3. Official certification;

  4. Human and veterinary medicines; and

  5. Article 10(1) of the Protocol.

The Decisions adopted at this meeting demonstrate the UK’s and the EU’s commitment to the implementation of the Protocol in full so the people of Northern Ireland can have the fundamental legal assurances they need. Both the UK and the EU reiterated their commitment to upholding obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all respects.

The UK and the EU emphasised their commitment to EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, and to ensuring their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement are protected. The Committee agreed to extend Withdrawal Agreement social security coordination between the UK and EU to European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) States from 1 January 2021.

The UK and the EU took the opportunity provided by this meeting to underline its commitment to continued constructive engagement through the Joint Committee processes after the end of the transition period.

Separately, the UK has confirmed that it will provide additional funding of over £200 million to the PEACE PLUS programme up to 2027, on top of the £300 million already committed, recognising its important contribution to the promotion of peace and reconciliation, and to cross-border economic and territorial development of Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.

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