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December 24, 2020 | EU and UK reach agreement on future relationship

On 24 December 2020, after 11 months of negotiations, an agreement was reached on the terms of the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, as of 1st January of 2021.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared in this regard: “It was worth fighting for this agreement, since the result is a fair and balanced agreement with the United Kingdom, which protects European interests, guarantees a loyal competition and provides the much needed predictability to our fishing communities. We can finally leave Brexit behind and look to the future. Europe can continue to move forward. »

This historic agreement, named Trade and Cooperation Agreement, consists of three main pillars: a free trade agreement; a new partnership for the security of our citizens; and a horizontal governance agreement.

With regard to the Free Trade Agreement, the following stand out:

  •  The agreement covers not only trade in goods and services, but also a wide range of other areas in the EU's interest, such as investment, competition, state aid, tax transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection and social security coordination.
  •  The agreement provides for zero customs duties and zero tariff quotas (zero tariffs, zero quotas) for all goods that comply with the proper rules of origin.
  •  The two parties are committed to ensuring a level playing field upon a high protection in areas such as environmental protection, the fight against climate change and the attribution of a price to carbon emissions, social and labour rights, transparency tax and state aid, as well as effective application of the rules applicable at national level, a binding dispute resolution mechanism and the possibility for both parties to take corrective measures.
  •  The EU and the UK have agreed on a new framework for jointly managing fish stocks in EU and UK waters. The United Kingdom will be able to continue to develop British fishing activities within this framework, which safeguards the activities and livelihoods of European fishing communities and preserves natural resources.
  •  In the field of transports, the agreement provides for the continuity and sustainability of air, road, rail and maritime connectivity, although market access is less than what the single market provides. The agreement contains provisions designed to ensure that competition between EU and UK operators is carried out on a level playing field, so that the rights of passengers and workers, as well as transport safety, are not jeopardized.
  •  In the field of energy, the agreement foresees a new model for trade and interconnectivity, with guarantees of open and fair competition, including safety standards for offshore exploration and the production of renewable energy.
  •  With regard to social security coordination, the agreement aims to guarantee a number of rights for EU citizens and UK nationals, in particular with regard to EU citizens who work, travel or live in the UK and UK nationals who work, travel or live in the EU from 1st January of 2021.
  •  The agreement also includes a provision to ensure that on 1st January of 2021 the transfer of personal data to the United Kingdom is not considered a transfer to a third country, until the European Union adopts a suitability decision for the United Kingdom, but never beyond 6 months.
  •  The agreement also allows travel for short-term stays between the UK and the EU without a visa, subject to reciprocity. It also allows the movement of service providers, and the establishment of a framework to facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications (conditions to be defined).
  •  Finally, the agreement allows the United Kingdom to continue to participate in a series of flagship European programs during the period 2021-2027 (subject to a financial contribution from the United Kingdom to the EU budget), as is the case of the Horizon Europe program.

For this Trade and Cooperation Agreement to be formally signed, and applied provisionally from 1st January of 2021, the necessary internal procedures on the part of the EU and the United Kingdom need to be completed, which are still on course.

Prepare for changes starting January 1, 2021

On 1st January of 2021, the United Kingdom will cease to be part of the single market and the customs union and will no longer participate in all EU policies and international agreements. The free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the UK and the EU will cease to exist. The EU and the United Kingdom will form two separate markets and two separate regulatory and legal spaces.

Even with the application of this Trade and Cooperation Agreement, there will be obstacles, at the moment non-existent, to trade in goods and services, to the mobility of people and to investment flows between the EU and the United Kingdom.

In particular, and with regard to trade in goods, it should be noted that:

  •  All exchanges of goods - imports and exports - will be subject to customs formalities and will have to comply with the rules imposed by the importing party;
  •  All imports from the EU will have to comply with all EU standards and will be subject to regulatory compliance checks and health and safety controls;
  •  A good can only benefit from the preferential treatment provided for in this agreement if it complies with the rules of origin established therein.
  •  With regard to the provision of services, we emphasize the need to pay attention to a displacement regime for the provision of services that is less favorable than the current one, including:
  •  Stricter access to the provision of services in the territory of the United Kingdom or the EU for providers from the other party;
  •  The need to establish a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications for future recognition. We recommend consulting the competent body in the respective country of operation for more information.

More information

The final legal revision of the text of this agreement will take place from April 30, 2021, in all official languages of the EU, including Portuguese.

The BREXIT area of the website of this DGAE is being updated, due to the substantive changes that this Trade and Cooperation Agreement implies.

We hope to return soon with new content, relevant information, links and contacts. Be aware!

Until then, you can find information about this trade and cooperation agreement at the following links:

December 15, 2020 | Economy Priorities in the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU - Webinar 15-12-2020 | 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

The Directorate-General for Economic Activities, of the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition, have the honour to invite Your Excellency to participate in a webinar of presentation of the objectives and priorities of the Economy area in the next Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU (PPUE2021). This event, which we nominate “Path to the Presidency: the PPUE Roadmap in the Economic Area”, according to the program, in the annex, intends to present to companies, business associations and Portuguese Public Administration bodies the main priorities and main events that will be promoted by the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition.

The webinar “Path to the Presidency: the PPUE Roadmap in the Economic Area” will be attended by Your Excellency the Assistant Secretary of State and Economy, Dr. João Neves, of Ambassador Rui Vinhas (for the coordination of PPUE2021 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the Directors of the bodies of this Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition.

December 4, 2020 | Launch of the motto, logo and website of the Portuguese presidency of the European Union:

The Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, and the Secretary of State of European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, presented on December 4, 2020 the motto, logo and website of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (PPUE).

With the motto “Time to act: for a fair, green and digital recovery”, is inscribed the vision and priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, namely:

  •  Time to act, with a sense of urgency that is indispensable towards the crisis and the challenges that Europe faces.
  •  Time to act, with the awareness that the European social model is the best instrument to overcome the challenges of economic and social recovery and of climate and digital transitions.
  •  Time to act, with a vision for the future, for a Europe that is resilient, sustainable, innovative, cohesive and open to the world.
  •  Time to act, together, for future generations.

For more information, visit the website of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (PPUE):https://www.2021portugal.eu/pt/

September 24, 2020 | “Digital Societies” Conference

On the occasion of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, takes place at the initiative of the Trio of Presidencies of the Council of the European Union - Germany, Portugal and Slovenia - an event dedicated to the challenges of exercising citizenship in the current context of transition to digital societies, under the theme Digital Societies: towards a human-centered, trustworthy and value-based digital transition.

As a result of the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will be broadcast online on September 24, 2020, between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm (Lisbon time zone).

This event has the participation of senior representatives from Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and the European Commission, as well as the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the UN.

Other invited countries are Cape Verde, Uruguay, Brazil and Ethiopia. Portugal will be represented by the Secretary of State for Digital Transition, André de Aragão Azevedo.

Registration is now open, through www.eu2020-accreditation.de/BMI/DigitalSocieties, and questions are invited in order to be discussed by the panel. Additional informations are available at www.ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/EUTrioTalkUN and via the hashtag #EUTrioTalk

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