The European Commission on Monday presented its draft negotiation mandate on the EU’s future partnership with the U.K.
The U.K left the bloc on Friday after being a member of the European integration for 47 years. In the upcoming 11-month transition period, the U.K. and the EU are meant to agree on the terms of economic cooperation.
“Let’s be clear and don’t forget that the best relationship with the EU is to stay a member,” Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator said at a news conference.
“The U.K. decided to leave the single market and the customs union, so it can’t have anymore the bloc’s advantages,” he added.
The proposed negotiation mandate involves three main chapters: economic and security partnership, as well as an institutional framework for governing future relations.
In terms of economy, “the EU offers a highly ambitious trade deal with zero tariffs and quotas for all goods and services entering the single market,” Barnier explained.
It covers a wide range of sectors, including business, telecommunications, intellectual property rights and access to EU public procurements.
But in return, the EU asks the U.K. to uphold high standards on social affairs, environmental protection and state aid regulation in order to maintain an “open and fair competitions”.
The EU also insists on an agreement on fisheries, which provides reciprocal access to market and waters, and caps the fishing with quotas for the sake of sustainability.
The negotiation mandate doesn’t include financial services, which are crucial for the London city’s financial hub. EU insists on deciding unilaterally on granting access to its financial market.
The security chapter proposes cooperation on the fight against terrorism and foreign policy.
The EU is also committed to maintain cooperation in research program Horizon 2020 and student exchange Erasmus, but the scope of it will depend on decision about the 2021-27 multiannual framework, which European heads of states and governments are expected to take at the Feb. 20 summit.
The third part offers a framework for dispute settlement between the parties.
The European Parliament’s plenary is expected to vote the mandate next week, while European ministers are supposed to approve it on Feb. 25.
Once approved, the EU will seek to hold than 10 parallel negotiations on different policy areas in order to keep the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline.
By Agnes Szucs in Brussels