LONDON — The U.K. would be prepared to commit not to water down its shared standards with the EU in order to break the deadlock in Brexit trade talks, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.
The British government couldn’t accept the EU’s request that the U.K. adopts new laws passed by the bloc, but it would be willing to commit to the so-called non-regression principle — in other words, to maintain the standards already in place when the trade deal comes into force, Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Agreement on the so-called level playing field that the EU wants to ensure Britain can’t undercut the bloc by implementing lower standards once the transition period ends on December 31 is, officials say, the biggest outstanding roadblock to a trade deal.
“We can accept the sort of non-regression principles which are common to free-trade arrangements, which indeed Canada entered into, and that’s the point we’ve always made,” he said. “We want an arrangement similar to the one Canada has with the EU.”
Gove spoke hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson flies to Brussels for dinner with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“We’ve been clear throughout — the prime minister’s been admirably clear — about what the United Kingdom needs as a sovereign independent country, and I think President von der Leyen will want to ensure that all EU member states recognize that a deal is in everyo