General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 16/10/2018 | EU Council Press

Agenda highlights

The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, will be updated by the Commission’s Brexit chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, about the state of play of Brexit negotiations with the UK, regarding both the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on future relations. Ministers will on this basis prepare the European Council (Article 50) of 17 October 2018.

Withdrawal issues

All the withdrawal issues need to be covered in the withdrawal agreement, which should be agreed in good time to be ratified before the withdrawal date of 29 March 2019. Some parts of the text have already been agreed in principle by the UK and the EU negotiators, although nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

There are still parts of the withdrawal agreement that require further negotiation. One of them is the issue of avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Future relationship

An agreement on a future relationship can only be negotiated and concluded once the UK has become a third country. However, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship will be set out in a political declaration accompanying and referred to in the withdrawal agreement.