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Specialized Committee

Feeding into the work of the Joint Committee is the Specialised Committee. It is provided for in Article 165 of the Withdrawal Agreement and, like the Joint Committee comprises EU and UK representatives, but at senior civil servant level. Its responsibilities are set out in Article 14 of the Protocol. These include facilitating the implementation and application of this Protocol; examining proposals concerning the Protocol’s implementation and application from the North-South Ministerial Council and North-South Implementation bodies set up under the 1998 Agreement; considering ‘any matter of relevance to Article 2 of this Protocol brought to its attention by the human rights and equality bodies set up pursuant to the 1998 Agreement; discussing any point raised by the Union or the United Kingdom that is of relevance to this Protocol and gives rise to a difficulty; and making recommendations to the Joint Committee as regards the functioning of the Protocol.

The Specialised Committee's rules of procedure are set out in Annex VIII to the Withdrawal Agreement. For discussions of the Specialised Committee roles see Protocol Analysis.

The EU's position in the Specialised Committee is determined in line with Article 2 of Council Decision (EU) 2020/135. The Decision also provides for member state representatives to accompany the Commission at meetings. Ireland is specifically mentioned, although representatives of other members have also attended meetings. 

The UK government is committed to ensuring that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in any meetings of the Specialised Committee discussing Northern Ireland-specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the EU delegation.

 The Specialised Committee meets at least once a year. Details of the meetings are provided below.

DateMeetingIssues Covered
08.03.2022 Tenth Meeting: no agenda; Joint Statement Included: stocktake of implementation; determination to address outstanding issues via 'durable solutions'; stocktake of the work of the JCWG; committment to NI stakeholder engagement. 
24.09.2021 Ninth Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: access to relevant customs databases; status of establishing Border Control Posts; implementation of flexibilities regarding GB-NI movement of live animals; stocktake of the work of the. JCWG; continuation of joint UK and EU engagement with NI stakeholders.
19.07.2021 Eighth Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included:  stocktake of implementation; status of grace periods on chilled meats; proposed solutions to facilitate GB-NI movement of live animals; disagreement on outstanding issues regarding customs, SPS and movement of goods; continuation of joint UK and EU engagement with NI stakeholders.
26.03.2021 Seventh Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: stocktake of implementation; stocktake of outstanding issues and ways forward; commitments to continue engagement with NI stakeholders. 
23.02.2021 Sixth Meeting: no agenda; no statements issued  
17.12.2020 Fifth Meeting: no agenda; no statements issued  
05.11.2020 Fourth Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: stocktake on implementation; progress on issues related to VAT, customs, Single Electricity Market and Border Control Posts; the application of EU legislation in the area of medicines; progress on draft decisions to be taken by the Joint Committee.
09.10.2020 Third Meeting: agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: stocktake on implementation; conclusion of discussions on upcoming Joint Committee decisions; status of Border Control Posts; progress in advance of the end of the Transition Period.
16.07.2020 Second Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: stocktake on implementation; progress of technical discussions on a range of issues regarding the Protocol; preparations in advance of the end of the Transition Period.  
30.04.2020 First Meeting: no agenda; statements - European CommissionUK Government Included: updates on the implementation of the Protocol; prepatory work in advance of future decisions to be taken by the Joint Committee; reaffirmation of respective UK and EU commitments made under the Protocol.