Less than a year to set out the rules of a free trade agreement



31 January 2020 - The UK leaves the European Union

1 February 2020 - Start of the Transition Period until 31 December 2020 to provide time for citizens and businesses to adapt

3 February 2020 - The European Commission recommends opening negotiations with the UK

25 February - The Council adopts negotiating mandate

On 25 February, the Council adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations in early March for a new partnership with the UK after having left the EU on 31 January. The Commission has been formally appointed in the role of EU negotiator. Moreover, the Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.

These directives define the scope and terms of the future partnership that the European Union envisages with the United Kingdom covering all areas of interest for the negotiations: trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, foreign policy, security and defence, participation in Union programmes and other thematic areas of cooperation.

The EU wishes to establish an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership with the UK, ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, and establish a free trade agreement that guarantees zero tariffs and quotas apply to trade in goods. This agreement should provide for cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects.

The first formal negotiation meetings between the EU and the UK representatives is taking place this week.

For further information on the EU’s position, click here

The UK has also published its approach on the negotiations, click here