BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Monday published a negotiating mandate for EU governments to endorse on Feb. 25 to start talks with Britain on a deal governing post-Brexit relations.
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Below are key issues in the mandate, to be addressed during talks before Dec. 31, when Britain’s transition period ends.
Rather than dozens of separate treaties dealing with various aspects of the relation between the 27 countries remaining in the European Union and Britain, the EU wants a single, overarching agreement that would cover these areas:
** Basic values and principles, ways in which the deal would be enforced, how disputes would be settled and how the agreement can be expanded if needed.
The future relationship deal should be periodically reviewed. If one side breaks essential elements of the deal, it could be suspended in part or whole.
There should be a governing body that would also facilitate dispute resolution and reach decisions by mutual consent. It could refer a dispute to an independent arbitration panel, whose decisions would be binding.
Where a dispute requires interpretation of EU law, it would only be done by the EU’s top court.
If either side fail to implement the binding resolution, it could be fined or the agreement could be suspended.
** Provisions on trade and guarantees that British companies would not be allowed to undercut EU ones through lower labour or environmental or tax standards or thanks to government help – what the EU calls a level playing field.
The EU wants no tariffs or quotas in trade in goods,