On May 19, the UK Government published a suite of draft legal texts (the Legal Texts) to accompany its policy paper, “The Future Relationship with the EU,” published on February 27 (the Policy Paper).

The UK Government states that the draft Legal Texts are the legal articulation of its approach in the Policy Paper and that these have formed the basis of discussions with the EU.

The Legal Texts further the UK Government’s approach to come to an agreement with the EU on a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA). In the Legal Texts, the UK Government proposes zero tariffs and zero quotas on goods (currently this is not the case in any of the existing EU FTAs), and includes relatively weak and unenforceable level playing field provisions. The UK Government suggests that this approach is consistent with the political declaration, whereby both the EU and UK aimed to reach an agreement on a zero tariffs, zero quotas FTA.

Contrastingly, the EU’s position is to have an overall governance framework that covers all areas of economic and security cooperation. In this governance framework, the Court of Justice of the EU would be the sole arbiter of EU law. Furthermore, the level playing field provisions would be strong and enforceable, unlike those proposed by the UK Government.

The Legal Texts and Policy Paper are available here.