So.. I've been thinking a lot about this. Possible but wd be unprecedented for 2 reasons:
1) First time (to my knowledge) that an EU-only deal wd require provisional application (PA)
2) First time (to my knowledge) Council wd authorise PA before EU Parliament has voted.

1. Cd a UK-EU FTA be provisionally applied if EU cannot complete ratification by the end of the year? Yes. Article 25 of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (VCLT) allows for it. As @StevePeers notes, political declaration also mentions it.
2. But PA wd not be straightforward for 3 reasons:
a. Timing: Can only happen after legal scrubbing & translation
b. Legal call: EU only vs. “mixed agreement”
c. EU Parliament ratification

Bear with me.
3. Timing: EU can’t agree to PA until there is (i) a deal and (ii) lawyers have reviewed it. EU must also translate deal in EU official languages. As @JamesCrisp6 notes, they don’t want to rush this step.
4. Legal call: Is UK-EU deal:
(i) “EU-only” deal (areas of EU law only): then approval is needed at EU level (Council & EU Parliament)
(ii) OR a “mixed agreement” (areas of EU & member-state law, like aviation): then approval at EU level *&* in MS (though MS can vote after 2020)
5. What about UK-EU deal? If it covers aviation & social security, it’s usually a mixed agreement. *But* EU cd decide it's an EU-only deal like they did for EU-Japan. But politically, this won’t be an easy decision. (Legally also dubious - @jameskkane can tell you more).
6. MS cd agree to "EU-only" - but will be reluctant to: Why? Cos MS jealously guard their powers & don't want to give EU more powers than it already has! If they go for "EU-only" there will be *lots* of caveats ("this is exceptional"; "won't be repeated"; "aviation still MS law")
7. So what does this mean for PA: “EU-only” deals don't usually require PA. Deal comes into force as soon as it has been ratified by Council & EU Parliament. So if ratification is complete by 31 Dec, then there is no need for PA.
8. But…. UK-EU talks are really running out of time. So what happens if there is an EU-only deal, but EP has no time to ratify? Can it be provisionally applied? This is where it gets complicated.
9. Legally speaking, Council (EU27) can consent to PA *before* EU Parliament vote. But it never does. In last yrs, EP has asked Council not to agree to PA until EP has had time to review & vote on deal. Doing this now cd cause tension between Council & EP.
9.bis [Which is terrible timing given all the other things the EU has on its plate: budget, Covid recovery fund, etc. Good relations between Council & EP will be key].
10. If political hurdles can be overcome (big IF), no time to be complacent. PA not straightforward:
1) PA terms must be discussed inside EU & with UK
2) Not a permanent state
3) Can be withdrawn unilaterally. END.

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More from @GeorginaEWright

16 Nov
Lots of talk (& confusion) today about EU ratification & #Brexit. All you need to know in this short thread.
1. Should you care about EU ratification? Yes. Brexit talks ongoing – but they're only part of the challenge. UK & EU also need time to vote & get ready for change.
2. Who in EU votes on UK-EU FTA? Depends on content of the deal. If:
(i) “EU-only” (areas of EU law only): then approval is needed at EU level (Council & EU Parliament)
(ii) “mixed agreement” (areas of EU & member-state law, like aviation): then approval at EU level *and* in MS
Read 14 tweets
13 Nov
How will #EU react to Cumming’s departure? My hunch: status quo & caution. Short thread:
1. Status quo: Cumming’s departure won’t suddenly lead to a softening of EU state aid position in favour of the UK’s. EU wants a state aid compromise that stands the test of time - not just now but in 5/10 years time. Tonight’s development do not change that.
2. Caution: Cumming’s departure only matters if it gives PM more room for manoeuvre to find a Brexit compromise. But PM makes that call & there is no guarantee of that yet. END.
Read 4 tweets
7 Nov
A Biden victory is good for the UK & Global Britain. Why? Quick thread:
1. Stable foreign policy outlook: Biden will want to break with an America first foreign policy. Recommit US to multilateral system, fight against climate change & building resilience. UK shares all these priorities.
2. *But* UK must present US with a plan: Biden’s immediate focus will be domestic (bring US together, tackle Covid). Many in Washington have been surprised at how “internally-focused” the UK has been for past 4 yrs with Brexit. They now want to know what Britain will do globally
Read 7 tweets
15 Sep
This misreads the EU's position and the protocol. Thread:
1. Purpose: protocol designed to prevent a hard border between Ireland and NI: the only way to do that was to agree a UK-wide backstop (which PM rejected) OR ensure greater alignment between NI and Ireland & move admin procedures to the Irish Sea. PM negotiated the latter
2. Length: The protocol will apply even if there is an FTA – it’s just that certain provisions could be superseded (i.e. improved) by FTA. This is why FTA talks are so important. And why any attempt to unpick WA cd seriously jeopardise them.
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep
Sorry to be a pedant but joint committee role isn’t to identity which GB products are at risk; rather it agrees which products are *NOT* at risk of flowing into EU market. If JC can’t agree, then *all* GB products entering NI will be deemed at risk (with some exceptions)
Sounds the same, but it’s not. UK worried that JC won’t come to an agreement. But as @BBCkatyaadler points out, EU want a deal & prepared to move. EU understands UK asks. Talks ongoing (and until this wk, were going well on the whole). No agreement yet. Just way negotiations go
Meanwhile other aspects of protocol cd be addressed (and therefore requirements lessened) in FTA. But EU has said it will only agree to FTA if *UK* sticks to its commitments under withdrawal agreement.
Read 4 tweets
30 Jun
True that not all previous national security advisers (NSA) were "steeped in the security world" but they had worked on security files before taking over the post:
1. Before becoming NSA, @LordRickettsP was chairman of joint intelligence committee, UK permanent representative to NATO and Foreign Office PUS.

2. Before becoming NSA, Sir Kim Darroch was DG for Europe at FCO and Permanent Rep to the EU. Wd have involved security files.
3. Before becoming NSA, Sir Mark Lyall Grant was UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Would have involved a number of security files.

4. Before becoming NSA, @marksedwill was FCO Director for Afghanistan & Pakistan and had worked in Afghanistan.
Read 4 tweets

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