United Kingdom Legal Research Guide

This in-depth guide will help researchers navigate legal materials for the United Kingdom.

EU Documents & Publications Related to Brexit

Listed below are links to the full texts of some of the most important Brexit-related documents and publications issued by three key EU institutions:  The European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament.

European Council Documents & Publications

The European Council is comprised of the heads of state or heads of government of the EU's members states.  Although it has no formal legislative powers, the Council sets the EU's policy-making agenda and appoints members of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.  The current President of the Council is Donald Tusk, the former prime minister of Poland.

  • Guidelines on Article 50 Negotiations (29 April, 2017)
    These guidelines establish a two-part framework for the withdrawal negotiations, with the first phase covering the terms of the withdrawal and the second phase covering transitional arrangements and the UK's future relationship with the EU.
  • (Supplemental) Guidelines on Article 50 Negotiations (15 December, 2017)
    These supplement guidelines focus on the matters to be addressed during second phase of the negotiations.
  • Directives for Article 50 Negotiations (22 May, 2017)
    These directives set forth the Council's priorities for the first phase of the negotiations, including the financial settlement, safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • (Supplemental) Directives for Article 50 Negotiations (29 January, 2018)
    These supplemental directives set forth the Council's priorities with respect to the transitional arrangements during the period between the UK's withdrawal and the finalization of its future relationship with the EU.
  • Guidelines on the Framework fo the Future of the EU-UK Relationship (23 March, 2018)
    These guidelines outline the Council's priorities with respect to the EU's future relationship with the EU, including the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the UK after its withdrawal; reciprocity and non-discrimination with respect to the future movement of persons between the EU and the UK; the maintenance of a level playing field with respect to competition, state aid, taxation, and environmental regulation; and continued cooperation in the fields of law enforcement, security, and defense.

European Commission Documents & Publications

The European Commission is the EU's executive body.  It consists of 28 commissioners, one from each member state, and functions as a cabinet-style government, with each commissioner responsible for a designated policy area.  The European Council has delegated the task of negotiating the UK's withdrawal from the EU to the Commission.

European Parliament Documents & Publications

The European Parliament is the only EU institution whose members are directly elected by the citizens of the member states.  In addition to providing democratic oversight of the Commission, the Parliament has the power to approve, amend or reject legislation proposed by the Commission.   Pursuant to Article 50 (2) of the Treaty on the European Union, the Parliament must approve the terms of the UK's withdrawal agreement in order for it to take effect.

Direct links to selected European Parliament documents and publications on Brexit are provided below, as are links to gateway pages for accessing sector-specific Brexit impact statements and research on Brexit by the European Parliament's think tank.