The withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union was signed in November 2019, and came into force at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020. It lays out the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU and the ongoing relationship between the two parties.
One important element of the withdrawal agreement is the requirement for both sides to act in good faith in relation to the implementation of its provisions. Article 5 of the agreement sets out this obligation, stating that “the parties shall, in full mutual respect and good faith, assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from this agreement.”
The principle of acting in good faith is a fundamental element of international law, and is often included in treaties and agreements between states. It implies a duty to act honestly and fairly, and to refrain from any conduct that would undermine the objectives of the agreement.
In the context of the withdrawal agreement, acting in good faith involves a number of specific obligations on both the UK and the EU. These include:
1. Implementing the provisions of the agreement in a timely and effective manner, and taking steps to ensure compliance with its requirements.
2. Cooperating with each other in areas such as trade, border management, and security, and sharing information where necessary to ensure effective implementation of the agreement.
3. Respecting the rights and obligations of each other under the agreement, and refraining from any conduct that would undermine these.
4. Maintaining an open and constructive dialogue, and working together to resolve any disputes that may arise in relation to the implementation of the agreement.
The obligation to act in good faith is particularly important in the context of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which forms an integral part of the withdrawal agreement. The protocol aims to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland aligned with EU customs and regulatory rules. This requires a significant degree of cooperation between the UK and the EU, and any failure to act in good faith could jeopardize the operation of the protocol and threaten peace and stability in the region.
In summary, the requirement to act in good faith is a crucial element of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU. It imposes a duty on both sides to cooperate effectively and to respect each other`s rights and obligations under the agreement. As the UK and the EU move forward with implementing the provisions of the agreement, it will be essential for both sides to maintain a spirit of mutual respect and good faith, in order to ensure its success.