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On 24 December 2020, the EU and the UK successfully concluded a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), after a long and complex negotiation. As of 1st January 2021, this agreement applied on a provisional basis until the Council and EP completed the ratification process. In the same vein as other recent Free Trade Agreements, the agreement entails specific provisions on a civil society dialogue. The EESC, key actor of this civil society dialogue, thus decided on the institutional set-up to foster the relationship with the UK and its civil society (business, trade unions and other organisations), as well as a body to monitor the TCA.

This new set-up, adjusted in light of not only the deal concluded and the new EU-UK relationship but also of the recent institutional developments in the EC, includes:

  • the EU-UK Follow-up Committee, the political successor to the Follow-up Group on Brexit and an EESC Committee where we can set our own agenda and priorities, in order to meet the needs of the new reality;
  • the EU Domestic Advisory Group under the EU-UK TCA, the civil society institutional pillar of the EU‑UK trade relationship.

Now that the future relations have been governed between the two partners through such an important and comprehensive partnership agreement, the EESC is committed to play its role to optimize the potential of this agreement, particularly in relation to the UK civil society. The EESC is determined to maintain close contacts with the UK civil society after Brexit, encourage dialogue and exchange and bring the civil society organisations into the social decision-making process, thus ensuring that the strong economic, social and political ties developed over half a century of UK membership of the EU are protected.

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