LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union are due to begin negotiations on their future relationship early next week and on Friday the two sides published the terms of reference for their upcoming talks.
FILE PHOTO: Participants hold a British Union flag and an EU flag during a pro-EU referendum event at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 19, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo
Below are the key details:
– Full negotiating rounds will take place every two to three weeks, alternating between Brussels and London.
– Each will open with the chief or deputy chief negotiators setting out the objectives for the round and close with them taking stock on progress and considering the focus of the next round.
– Informal discussions may occur as necessary between rounds.
– So far the two sides have agreed the following dates for rounds of talks:
Round 1: March 2-5, Brussels
Round 2: March 18-20, London
Round 3: April 6-8, Brussels
Round 4: April 27-30, London
Round 5: May 13-16, Brussels
TOPICS FOR NEGOTIATION
– The two sides have agreed to split the negotiations into 11 groups. They may merge, split or create additional groups as talks progress.
– Each round of talks will involve concurrent negotiations across the negotiating groups.
– Below are the initial groups, all of which are due to be discussed during the first round of negotiations:
1) Trade in goods
2) Trade in services and investment and other issues
3) Level playing field for open and fair competition
5) Energy and civil nuclear cooperation
7) Mobility and social security cooperation
8) Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
9) Thematic cooperation
10) Participation in union programmes
11) Horizontal arrangements and governance
– Negotiations will be conducted in English and “in duly justified circumstances” in French.
– When either party shares negotiating positions, written documents such as draft texts, notes or supporting data, these will not be made public without the consent of the other party.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison