Article 129 (3) of the withdrawal agreement provides that ‘the United Kingdom shall refrain, during the transition period, from any action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the Union’s interests, in particular in the framework of any international organisation, agency, conference or forum of which the United Kingdom is a party in its own right.’ What does that mean? That we are not free at the UN Security Council to oppose any item of EU foreign policy? That we cannot cut our rate of VAT? That we must not make jokes about Jean-Claude Juncker? Needless to say, there is no reciprocal obligation on the EU to do nothing prejudicial to the interests of the United Kingdom.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator notes, which appears in this week’s magazine