The Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee met for the first time on 30 March by teleconference.
The meeting was co-chaired by the UK Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, and EU Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and attended by a small delegation including Member State representatives and ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive.
The UK and EU updated the Joint Committee on progress to implement the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK reiterated our commitment to protecting the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all respects, and to upholding our obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK emphasised our commitment to EU citizens in the UK and ensuring that UK nationals in the EU have their rights protected consistent with the Withdrawal Agreement.
The UK and EU also agreed to start the work of the six Specialised Committees on citizens’ rights; other separation provisions; Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland; Protocol relating to the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus; Protocol on Gibraltar; and financial provisions.
The UK and EU co-chairs both welcomed the collaborative and constructive conversation, despite circumstances preventing a meeting in person.
Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee – Fact Sheet What is the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee?
The Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee oversees UK and EU implementation, application and interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Joint Committee will also seek to resolve any issues that may arise during implementation.
The Joint Committee will supervise the work of six Specialised Committees, and take decisions on their recommendations. The six Specialised Committees cover:
● Citizens’ Rights;
● Other Separation Provisions;
● Ireland/Northern Ireland;
● Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus; and
● Financial Provisions
Who chairs the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee?
The Joint Committee is co-chaired by the UK and the EU. The UK co-chair is Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP. The EU co-chair is European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič.
The UK alternate co-chair is The Paymaster General, Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP. The EU alternate co-chairs are Mr Michel Barnier and Ms Clara Martínez Alberola.
How does the Joint Committee operate? How often will it meet?
The Withdrawal Agreement requires that the Joint Committee meets at least once a year and must issue an annual report. The exact meeting schedule and agendas will be agreed by mutual consent of the co-chairs.
Either the UK or EU can request a meeting, which should take place within 30 days. The Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee will continue after the end of the Transition Period for as long as necessary. Meetings will alternate between London and Brussels, unless the co-chairs decide otherwise, and can also be held via video or teleconference.
Further details on how the Joint Committee will operate, including outlining Rules of Procedure can be found in Annex VIII of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Who chairs the Specialised Committees? How often will they meet? What do they do?
Committees are co-chaired by UK and EU officials. Each Specialised Committee will work slightly differently. Co-chairs will mutually agree meeting schedules and agendas.
Specialised Committees support the Joint Committee by focussing on key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement in detail. They draft recommendations for decision by the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.
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