Last reviewed 4 May 2021

It has nothing on the front cover to differentiate it from the previous 148 editions published this year, but EU Official Journal L149 is likely to prove a collector’s piece.

Its more than 2500 pages (available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2021:149:TOC) are entirely devoted to the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

This may seem like old news on this side of the Channel as the UK Government made sure that the deal, agreed on Christmas Eve, was passed through Parliament before the deadline that had been set for the UK to leave the Union – 31 December 2020.

However, the EU had its own priorities which principally centred on allowing the European Parliament, and its committees, time to consider the deal before giving it their approval.

It therefore agreed that the TCA should be provisionally applied until the end of February. Even that did not prove sufficient as it then requested an extension to allow for translation into all 24 languages recognised by the Union, and for continued scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council.

That process was finally completed at the end of April and, fortunately for all concerned, the EU has approved the deal.

The issue of the Official Journal devoted to the TCA includes:

  • Council Decision (EU) 2021/689 confirming approval on behalf of the European Union of the TCA and the agreement concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information

  • the full text of the TCA

  • the full text of the agreement concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information.

CBI Director General Tony Danker described the EU’s confirmation of the trade deal as a decisive step forward, although he went on to say that it was far from the end of the process for business.

Logistics UK was also pleased to see the final adoption of the TCA, arguing that ratification would give certainty to businesses on both sides of the Channel.

European Policy Manager Sarah Laouadi added a similar caveat to that from the CBI, when she said that the priority was now to focus on effective implementation of the deal in order to keep goods and services flowing freely across the UK’s borders.