UK and EU negotiators have just published a declaration setting out their ambitions for the future relationship between this country and the remainder of the EU after Brexit. To give the document its full title, it is the:
Draft Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, agreed at negotiators’ level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to endorsement by Leaders.
Of particular interest is the section on “mobility” (i.e. migration) after Brexit, which is much longer than the couple of lines given over to this subject in an earlier draft published last week. It starts by acknowledging that free movement will end, aims for visa-free travel for short trips and notes that the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland is a separate consideration. The relevant section in full:
50. Noting that the United Kingdom has decided that the principle of free movement of persons between the Union and the United Kingdom will no longer apply, the Parties should establish mobility arrangements, as set out below.
51. The mobility arrangements will be based on non-discrimination between the Union’s Member States and full reciprocity.
52. In this context, the Parties aim to provide, through their domestic laws, for visa-free travel for short-term visits.
53. The Parties agree to consider conditions for entry and stay for purposes such as research, study, training and youth exchanges.
54. The Parties also agree to consider addressing social security coordination in the light of future movement of persons.
55. In line with their applicable laws, the Parties will explore the possibility to facilitate the crossing of their respective borders for legitimate travel.
56. Any provisions will be without prejudice to the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements as they apply between the United Kingdom and Ireland.
57. To support mobility, the Parties confirm their commitment to the effective application of the existing international family law instruments to which they are parties. The Union notes the United Kingdom’s intention to accede to the 2007 Hague Maintenance Convention to which it is currently bound through its Union membership.
58. The Parties will explore options for judicial cooperation in matrimonial, parental responsibility and other related matters.
59. These arrangements would be in addition to commitments on temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes in defined areas as referred to in Section III of this Part. Those commitments should not be nullified by the right of either Party to apply their respective laws, regulations and requirements regarding entry, stay and work.
The political declaration, like the draft Withdrawal Agreement on the arrangements for divorce, still has to be ratified. Unlike the Withdrawal Agreement, it would not be legally binding.