Norway and Britain agree on partial Brexit deal
EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have reached an agreement with the United Kingdom on an agreement to ensure citizens’ rights after Brexit.
the deal forms a reflection of the parts of the EU-UK divorce agreement that is relevant to us.
The agreement is now submitted for signature by Norway. The idea is that it will come into force immediately after the British exit of the EU at midnight March 29th, 2019. This assumes that the main EU-UK agreement is approved first.
Ensures the inhabitants
The UK’s agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway applies primarily to citizens’ rights in the three EEA countries following the British exit from the EU. It includes the rights of about 20,000 Norwegians in the UK and 15,000 Brits in Norway.
– When Britain leaves the EU, they also leave the EEA. It has therefore been crucial for Norway to have an agreement that guarantees rights for Norwegian citizens in the UK who currently have rights as a result of the EEA, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives) writes in a press release.
– With this agreement will, for example, Norwegian and British students and workers living in Britain and Norway continue as if nothing has changed, she continues.
Going according to the plan, the UK will initially enter into a transitional regime that will last until the end of 2020. In this phase, most things will continue as before in practical terms. The provisions of the agreement that are now negotiated will therefore mainly be relevant subsequent of the transition period.
In addition to citizens’ rights, the agreement covers issues like the flow of goods, customs procedures, police cooperation and public procurement. It also ensures continued protection for terms such as ”Norwegian Vodka” and ”Norwegian Aquavit”.
A separate system for enforcement
A more complicated question in the discussions has been how enforcement and dispute resolution should take place. It has not been possible to use cut-and-paste from the EU-UK divorce settlement.
Instead, the agreement with the EEA states that the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and the EFTA Court shall be responsible for ensuring that Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway comply with the agreement with the United Kingdom. At the same time, in the UK, an independent national enforcement body will be set up to take care of these tasks.
In addition, a mixed committee shall be established in which the parties to the agreement will meet in order to settle disputes.
Danger of «no deal»
The situation surely becomes more chaotic if the British crash out of the EU without having an agreement in place.
It is currently very uncertain whether the British exit agreement with the EU will be approved by the Parliament in London. If the agreement is rejected when it comes to the vote in January, anything can happen.
The agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will not be signed until the EU and the United Kingdom have signed their agreement. This means that Norway will also be without an agreement if the end of the line is a «no deal» scenario.
Norway and the United Kingdom today agree that citizens’ rights should be guaranteed regardless of a formal agreement.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today