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Brussels and London begin trade negotiations after Brexit

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The European Union and Great Britain intend to begin the second phase of negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU in Brussels early this week.

If at the first stage the conditions on which Great Britain left the community were discussed, then at the second stage, when Brexit has already taken place, it remains to be decided how relations will be built primarily in matters of trade between Brussels and London, when the transition period ends on December 31.

President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that the EU is ready to “build close relations of ambitious partnership with the UK,” which, in her words, is “good for people and business.”

On February 25, the EU General Affairs Council approved the EC’s mandate in negotiations on future relations with the UK.

– It’ll be hard –

The document emphasizes that the EU intends to establish a free trade zone with Great Britain without customs tariffs and quotas, as well as equal conditions to ensure fair competition for British and European business.

The negotiations should also lay the foundations for new relations in the field of fishing based on maintaining mutual access to each other’s waters, as well as developing partnerships in the field of digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, transport and energy.

The European Commission previously reported that in the second stage, negotiations will also be entrusted to Michel Barnier, who led them in the first stage. Barnier warned that the discussion would be very difficult, and confirmed that the first round would begin after March 2, and the second at the end of the month in London. Negotiations should be completed by the end of the year.

The UK left the EU on February 1, 2020 after three years of negotiating exit conditions. Brussels and London have agreed on a transitional period until the end of this year, during which all European standards apply to the United Kingdom. The UK also continues to pay its contribution to the community budget, but its representatives no longer participate in the decision-making process in the EU.

– London red lines –

London also presented its priorities ahead of the talks. He warned that if no discussions were expected at the high level meeting in June, the UK would be ready to stop them and begin preparations for trade with the EU from January 1, 2021 according to the rules of the World Trade Organization, that is, with the use of all possible tariffs.

The United Kingdom expects that by the summer the outline of the agreement will be clear and it can be concluded by September. London also warned that it would not agree that the laws of the kingdom be brought into line with EU laws and the requirements of community institutions, including the European Court, or extend to British territory.

The British authorities intend to reach a free trade agreement with the EU, similar to what the EU has with Canada. An agreement on the Canadian model allows for almost completely duty-free trade, but introduces a number of customs inspections of goods and does not apply to the important services market for the UK.

– Not a single trade –

In addition to trade negotiations, discussions in Brussels will generally discuss cooperation between the kingdom and the EU. Earlier, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that London intends next year to abandon compliance with European human rights laws.

According to the publication, the British side in the negotiations will refuse to accept those provisions of the future trade agreement that require the United Kingdom to comply with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which entered into force in 1953.

The newspaper points out that the heads of the British Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel, have previously criticized the convention, indicating that European judges are using it to their advantage.

The main adviser to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, is also an ardent supporter of the rejection of UK obligations under the ECHR. Previously, he criticized such provisions of the document as the need to provide the right to vote to prisoners or the ban on the extradition of certain foreign criminals.

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