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|dossier||COM(2020)636 - EU position in the Joint Working Group established by the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom as regards the ...|
1. Subject matter of the proposal
The Commission proposes that the Council establishes the position to be adopted on the Union's behalf in the Joint Consultative Working Group established by the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (‘the Withdrawal Agreement’) on a Joint Consultative Working Group decision to adopt its rules of procedure.
2. Context of the proposal
2.1.The Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the arrangements for the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (‘United Kingdom’) from the European Union (‘Union’) and the European Atomic Energy Community. This Agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020.
2.2.The Joint Consultative Working Group
The Joint Consultative Working Group (‘working group’) was established under Article 15 i of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to the Withdrawal Agreement (‘the Protocol’), to serve as a forum for the exchange of information and mutual consultation on the implementation of the Protocol.
The working group is composed of representatives of the Union and the United Kingdom and carries out its functions under the supervision of the Specialised Committee on issues related to the implementation of the Protocol, established under Article 165 of the Withdrawal Agreement, to which it reports.
The working group has no power to take binding decisions other than the power to adopt its own rules of procedure.
Within the working group:
a)the Union and the United Kingdom exchange, in a timely manner, information about planned, ongoing and final relevant implementation measures in relation to the Union acts listed in the Annexes to the Protocol;
b)the Union informs the United Kingdom about planned Union acts within the scope of this Protocol, including Union acts that amend or replace the Union acts listed in the Annexes to the Protocol;
c)the Union provides to the United Kingdom all information the Union considers relevant to allow the United Kingdom to fully comply with its obligations under the Protocol; and
d)the United Kingdom provides to the Union all information that Member States are required to provide to one another or to the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union pursuant to the Union acts listed in the Annexes to the Protocol.
The working group is co-chaired by the Union and the United Kingdom. The working group meets at least once a month as from the end of the transition period, unless otherwise decided by the Union and the United Kingdom by mutual consent. Where necessary, the Union and the United Kingdom may exchange information referred to in points (c) and (d) above between meetings.
The Union ensures that all views expressed by the United Kingdom in the working group and all information provided by the United Kingdom in the working group, including technical and scientific data, are communicated to the relevant institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union without undue delay.
2.3.The envisaged decision of the working group
Pursuant to Article 15 i of the Protocol, the working group shall adopt its own rules of procedure by mutual consent.
The purpose of the envisaged decision for which the Union’s position should be established is for the working group to adopt its rules of procedure.
3. Position to be taken on the Union's behalf
The proper functioning of the working group requires rules of procedure covering, among others, the designation of the co-chairs, the composition of the secretariat, the exchange of information regarding the composition of the delegations, the place where the meeting should take place, the handling of documents and correspondence, the drawing up of the agenda and the minutes, the confidentiality and the working language of the meeting, as well as the expenses to be borne by the delegations.
In view of the purpose and composition of the working group and its relation with the Specialised Committee on issues related to the implementation of the Protocol, these rules should be similar, to the extent possible, to the rules of procedure provided for in Annex VIII to the Withdrawal Agreement as regards the Specialised Committees established under Article 165 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The position of the Union should therefore be to support the adoption of a decision by the working group pursuant to Article 15 i of the Protocol establishing such rules of procedure to govern its work, in line with the draft decision attached to this proposal.
4. Legal basis
Article 218(9) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for Council decisions establishing ‘the positions to be adopted on the Union’s behalf in a body set up by an agreement, when that body is called upon to adopt acts having legal effects, with the exception of acts supplementing or amending the institutional framework of the agreement.’
The decision, which the working group is called upon to adopt, constitutes an act having legal effects.
The envisaged act does not supplement or amend the institutional framework of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Therefore, the procedural legal basis for the proposed decision is Article 218(9) TFEU.
The sole objective and content of the envisaged act relates to establishing the Union’s position on the rules of procedure of a body established under the Withdrawal Agreement, and which pursuant to that same agreement, shall adopt its own rules of procedure by mutual consent. The conclusion of the Agreement was based on Article 50 i of the Treaty on European Union.
The legal basis of the proposed decision should therefore be Article 50 i of the Treaty on European Union, in conjunction with Article 218(9) TFEU.
5. Publication of the envisaged act
As the purpose of the decision of the working group is to adopt its rules of procedure, similarly to rules of procedure of the Joint Committee and the Specialised Committees provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, it is appropriate to publish the decision of the working group, including the rules of procedure, in the Official Journal of the European Union after its adoption.