The European Commission has published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, and also discussed the fight against illegal content online
Draft UK Withdrawal Agreement
The European Commission has today published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The draft Agreement translates into legal terms the Joint Report on the progress achieved during the first phase of the negotiations. It also integrates a legal text on the transition period, based on the supplementary negotiating directives adopted by the 27 Member States in the Council (Article 50) on 29 January 2018.
The draft Withdrawal Agreement consists of six parts – including introductory provisions, citizens' rights, other separation issues such as goods placed on the market before the withdrawal date, the financial settlement, transitional arrangements, and institutional provisions – and a protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. This protocol operationalises the fall-back solution in the Joint Report for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, which applies in the absence of other agreed solutions. This draft protocol does not prejudge discussions on other options for addressing this issue.
The Commission is presenting the draft Agreement now to allow time for consultation with the Member States and the European Parliament and, subsequently, for negotiation with the United Kingdom. The Withdrawal Agreement needs to be ratified by the Council, the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom.
Tackling Illegal Online Content
The College also discussed today the fight against illegal online content, and its proposals will be presented by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioners Jourova, King and Gabriel on 1 March. As a follow-up to its Communication of September 2017 on tackling illegal content online, the European Commission will recommend a set of operational measures to be taken by online platforms and Member States – accompanied by the necessary safeguards.
The European Union has responded to the challenge of illegal content online through both binding and non-binding measures, in sectoral and horizontal initiatives. Voluntary industry measures encouraged by the Commission have achieved results. For example, under the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online, internet companies now remove on average 70% of illegal hate speech notified to them and in more than 80% of these cases, the removals took place within 24 hours. However, there is significant scope for more effective action by online platforms to take illegal content off the web more quickly and efficiently, particularly on the most urgent issue of terrorist content, which presents serious security risks.
Press release - Tackling Illegal Online Content
Memo: Frequently asked questions: Commission Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online
Factsheet on Illegal Content Online
28 February 2018