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EU go-ahead for start of talks on future partnership with UK

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EU go-ahead for start of talks on future partnership with UK

Michel Barnier - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council fired the starting gun for the opening of the future partnership talks with the UK Tuesday, adopting negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.

"We are determined to reach a deal that protects EU interests," said Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator: "We will work hand-in-hand with the European Parliament and all Member States and will continue to be fully transparent throughout this process."

The comprehensive negotiating directives define the scope and terms of the future partnership that the European Union envisages with the United Kingdom.

The EU says it wishes to establish an "ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership with the UK". The mandate stresses that the future partnership should be underpinned by robust commitments to ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, given the EU and the UK's geographic proximity and economic interdependence.

The EU intends to establish a free trade agreement with the UK which ensures that zero tariffs and quotas apply to trade in goods. This agreement should provide for cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects. It should also include effective management and supervision, dispute settlement and enforcement arrangements.

On fisheries, the mandate outlines that the future partnership should uphold the existing reciprocal access to waters as well as stable quota shares. The agreement on fisheries should be established by 1 July 2020, to give time for determining fishing opportunities after the end of the transition period.

The mandate also contains provisions for future cooperation in areas such as digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, mobility, transport, and energy.

The EU will seek to establish a comprehensive security partnership with the UK. The partnership should comprise law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, as well as foreign policy, security and defence. The mandate foresees that the future partnership should be embedded in an overall governance framework covering all areas of cooperation.

The Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March.

Future EU-UK Partnership - background guide

Text of the negotiating directives for a new partnership with the United Kingdom

Webpage: The EU and the United Kingdom – Forging a new partnership: Guide to the negotiations

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