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The Union and the United Kingdom:
Reiterate the parties’ wish to establish a future partnership that is as close and strong as possible, given the global challenges they share, and underline their commitment to embark on preparations immediately after the signature of the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that negotiations on the future relationship can start as soon as possible after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal.
Recall the exchange of letters of 14 January 2019 between the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the clarifications set out therein.
Recall that the parties do not wish the backstop solution in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to become applicable, that were it to do so it would represent a suboptimal trading arrangement for both sides, and that both parties are therefore determined to replace the backstop solution for Northern Ireland by a subsequent agreement that would ensure, on a permanent footing, the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, in full respect of the integrity of the Union’s internal market and of the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.
Underline that the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland will be subject to regular reviews in order for the Parties to consider whether that Protocol is still necessary or could cease to apply in whole or in part.
Recall that after the end of the transition period, any dispute concerning compliance with Article 5 of the Withdrawal Agreement, Articles 2(1) and 20 of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland will be subject to the dispute settlement mechanism enshrined in Articles 167 to 181 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Note that this instrument provides, in the sense of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a clear and unambiguous statement by both parties to the Withdrawal Agreement of what they agreed in a number of provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. Therefore, it constitutes a document of reference that will have to be made use of if any issue arises in the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. To this effect, it has legal force and a binding character.
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