Cooperation in Various Areas


There are a number of areas where cooperation supports or complements our proposals for the economic or security partnerships. . For each of these areas, the UK and the EU should agree specific arrangements that support ongoing cooperation. These include:

  • data protection arrangements that provide for the continued exchange and protection of personal data between the UK and the EU, and allow for ongoing cooperation between authorities;
  • a security of information agreement enabling the exchange of classified information;
  • a series of cooperative accords that enable the UK and the EU to work together in areas ranging from science and innovation to development and international action; and
  • an agreement on fishing opportunities that establishes a framework for reciprocal and fair access to waters and the allocation of opportunities, based on the most up-to-date scientific methodology, promoting sustainable fishing and respecting the UK’s position as an independent coastal state.

Cooperative accords

The UK has long been at the forefront of collective endeavours to understand and improve the lives of citizens within and beyond Europe’s borders, working with friends and allies across the globe on areas including scientific research, international development assistance and the development of defence capabilities.

There have been significant benefits to this collaboration. For instance, publications with international co-authorship are on average more highly cited than UK domestic publications.

It is therefore in the shared interest of the UK and the EU to continue this cooperation. The UK proposes to do so through new cooperative accords that provide for a more strategic approach than simply agreeing the UK’s participation in individual EU programmes on a case-by-case basis. This strategic approach would ensure that the UK and the EU could build on existing activity or develop new forms of cooperation, taking advantage of emerging opportunities and responding to global challenges, where it was in both parties’ mutual interest.

Based on key areas of current cooperation between the UK and the EU, these accords should cover:

  • science and innovation;
  • culture and education;
  • overseas development assistance and international action;
  • defence research and capability development;

Each of these accords should support joint activity by the UK and the EU, including providing for the participation of UK individuals or entities in EU programmes and enabling the exchange of expertise and information. Where the UK and the EU have an accord, the UK would make appropriate financial contributions that would be agreed between the parties, and each accord would need governance arrangements that ensured both parties could shape the activity covered, recognising these will need to respect the autonomy of the EU’s decision making.

Regulations for the next generation of EU funding programmes are expected to be agreed and adopted over the next year, providing a basis for third country participation. These should inform the development of the cooperative accords, but the UK and the EU may want to go further.

The UK also wants to consider participation in other EU programmes in addition to those covered by the accords. For example, the UK remains committed to delivering a future PEACE programme to sustain vital work on reconciliation and a shared future in Northern Ireland. The UK welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to a future programme protecting this work and broader cross-border cooperation and is committed to finalising the framework for this programme jointly over the coming months.

The UK and the EU will also need provisions that allow for mobility in relation to these accords, for example enabling scientists to attend conferences and musicians to perform at concerts.

Science and innovation

As a leader in the advancement of science and innovation, and a top five collaboration partner for every EU Member State,the UK plays a vital role in making Europe a base for pioneering research.  This collaboration is underpinned by shared principles of scientific excellence, openness to the world and European added value. Working in partnership has  increased the impact of our scientific activity, leading to major breakthroughs, such

The UK, therefore, proposes that the future relationship includes a science and innovation accord that:

  • provides for UK participation in EU research funding programmes;
  • enables continued cooperation through joint participation in networks,
  • infrastructure, policies, and agencies which are to the UK’s and the EU’s joint benefit; and
  • establishes channels for regular dialogue between regulators, researchers, and

On EU research funding programmes, the UK wishes to explore association in research and innovation programmes, including Horizon Europe, the Euratom Research and Training Programme, the Joint European Torus (JET) project and ITER.There is a range of precedents for participation by third countries, which by their nature are unique to the participating country. For instance, sixteen countries are associated with Horizon 2020 and Switzerland has an agreement on scientific and technical cooperation with Euratom. The accord should also allow the UK and the EU to discuss and agree on the UK’s participation in other programmes in the future.

To support cooperation, the UK should seek to participate in specific policies and networks which benefit businesses, researchers, citizens and patients across the UK and the EU, including:

  • the European Reference Networks, which support European cooperation and knowledge sharing related to clinical care and research on rare diseases; and
  • the European Research Infrastructure Consortia, two of which are currently hosted in the UK, the European Social Survey and INSTRUCT, which promotes innovation in biomedical science by making high-end technologies and methods in structural biology available to users.

Regulators, researchers, and experts would also need a regular dialogue to facilitate the cooperation outlined in this section, which would require suitable UK involvement through representation at strategic fora and committees.

Culture and education

The UK is home to a world-leading creative industries sector. The £66 billion fashion industry accounts for six percent of our economy;UK qualifying films took £6.2 billion at the box office globally in 2017;96 and one in every eight albums bought worldwide was by a UK act

The UK’s cultural, sporting and creative exports are an expression of the values and ideas the UK shares with the rest of Europe, as well as being an important way to bring communities together. The UK will always be a European country that advocates cultural diversity as part of its global identity and is committed to continuing its support of European culture.

The UK also attaches importance to the continued mobility of talented individuals and groups to support cultural, creative and sporting cooperation.

The UK proposes a new UK-EU culture and education accord that:

  • provides for UK participation in EU programmes, and allows UK institutions to be partners, associates, or advisers to EU projects and vice versa;
  • facilitates continued UK membership of EU cultural groups and networks;
  • supports the restitution of cultural objects where these have been unlawfully removed; and
  • allows for the temporary movement of goods for major events.

The UK’s and the EU’s current education cooperation is centred around Erasmus+. The end of the implementation period coincides with the natural end of the scheme. The UK is open to exploring participation in the successor scheme, and continued involvement in Creative Europe98 to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors.

The UK is a world leader in cultural protection, with recent initiatives such as the establishment of the Cultural Protection Fund and the ratification of the Hague  Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Disincentivising the illegal trade of cultural objects will be important in the future relationship.

The current EU regime allows the Member States to circulate details of cultural objects that are unlawfully removed and ask for assistance from the fellow Member States for the return of the objects. The UK proposes continued affiliation with the cultural object restitution regime system to underpin efforts to prevent the illicit removal and trading of cultural objects.

The temporary movement of goods and equipment is a priority for cultural, creative and sports sectors. This includes instruments used by touring musicians, objects, and collections loaned between museums, and sporting equipment taken to competitive events.

As part of the accord, the UK would like to explore options to build on existing precedents such as the EU’s Cultural Cooperation Protocols with third countries.

Overseas development assistance and international action

The UK is a leading global actor on international development and continues to meet the United Nations’ (UN) target of spending 0.7 percent of Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance (ODA).UK contributions, alongside those of other Member States, ensure the EU is the largest international donor of development assistance, while UK expertise helps support the efficacy of EU policy and spending.

Leaving the EU will not change the UK’s commitment to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Nor will it mean that the UK and the EU should stop acting together to alleviate poverty, promote peace and security, tackle migration and provide humanitarian aid. There will continue to be areas where the UK and the EU can achieve more by acting in concert than they would do alone.

The UK is, therefore, proposing that the future partnership includes an overseas development assistance and international action accord that provides for UK participation:

  • in EU development programmes and instruments; and
  • in EU external spending programmes.

Cooperation under this accord could take various forms. As well as UK participation in specific EU programmes and instruments, this could include involvement in individual projects under the framework of such programmes and instruments.

UK participation would require an appropriate level of influence and oversight over UK funds in line with the significant contribution and benefits that the UK brings. UK organisations should also be able to deliver EU programmes and apply for funding on an open and fair basis from programmes to which the UK contributes.

This accord would complement the consultation on foreign, defence and development policy envisaged, and be enhanced by the reciprocal exchange of expertise and personnel between UK and EU institutions.

Defence research and capability development

The UK has the largest defence budget in Europe and the UK’s defence market is one of the most open and competitive in the world. Defence capability collaboration between the UK and the EU supports the defence of Europe. It helps maintain our shared security, enhances our collective prosperity, and ensures that our defence industries continue to be globally competitive.

The UK is, therefore, proposing that the future relationship includes a defence research and capability development accord that provides for UK participation in:

  • research elements of EU defence programmes; and
  • capability development aspects of EU defence

This cooperative accord would complement UK and EU capability collaboration through the European Defence Agency (EDA) including coordination on capability priorities and planning processes; cooperation in specific EDA projects and initiatives; and potential UK involvement in specific European Development Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects.


The UK is home to a world-leading space technologies sector which has helped drive the EU’s space programmes. This brings benefits to the UK and the EU. The value of the European space sector was estimated at £37-43 billion in 2014, representing around 21 percent of the value of the global sector.

The UK and the EU should develop new arrangements for cooperation on space that support European security and mutual prosperity. The UK is, therefore, proposing that the future relationship includes a space accord that:

  • provides for UK participation in EU strategic space projects; and
  • establishes channels for regular dialogue between the UK and the EU on space policy.

The UK and the EU should continue to cooperate on the development and operation of EU space programmes, including Galileo and Copernicus, and ensure the eligibility for UK entities to compete for all programme contracts on an open and fair basis, including those relating to the Galileo programme’s secure elements.

This Article draws on the White Paper The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union Presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister July 2018 Cm 9593. UK public sector information is reproduced pursuant to the Open Government Licence  The Legal Materials contain UK public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The Licence is available  at (the UK Licence).

Important Notice- See the Disclaimer and our Term of Use above Brexit Legal, McMahon Legal and Paul McMahon have no liability arising from reliance on anything contained in this article nor on this website

Contact McMahon Legal