The Clash of Red Lines
With trade discussions between the UK and EU having yet begun there have been many reports about potential areas of clash between both sides. This week, these areas have been determined as both the UK and EU published their position on the future trade negotiations, with discussions beginning in March. The positions from both sides confirm what commentators have predicted – that there will be difficulty in the discussions over regulation, fishing rights and future trade. This is because Brussels and the United Kingdom have stated that they will stick to their red lines during these negotiations and not budge, something that is tricky when the other side has an opposing view. The UK has stated that they will not stick to EU regulation over certain areas or allow the European Court of Justice to play any role in UK affairs, which concerns Brussels that the UK would have an ‘unfair’ advantage when trading globally. Yet it is unlikely that regulation will differ dramatically to the EU, as it could have a negative impact on UK businesses expanding into Europe.
The UK Government have gone a step further and stated that if significant process is not being made during the talks, then they will be suspended by June. However, it is fairly unlikely that this will be something that the Government will stick to, given that the negotiations need to be agreed upon and put in place by December 2020. Instead Number 10 is leading a hard line on this to demonstrate that it will not compromise as easily as Theresa May.
Essentially, both position papers outline the key asks for the EU and UK in the upcoming negotiations. Both sides will inevitably compromise on key asks as it is in the interest to find a common ground as opposed to leaving the transition period with no agreement in place.
Upcoming Key Dates
- March: Future relationship talks begin.
- 4th April: Result of the Labour Leadership Contest.
- June: UK cut off point for negotiations, depending on progress.
- 31st December: End of the transition period.