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Future Relationship with EU: Negotiations

Volume 681: debated on Monday 5 October 2020

The Government have made a commitment to update Parliament on the progress of our future relationship negotiations with the EU. This statement provides an update on the ninth round of negotiations.

Led by the UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, negotiators from the UK and the EU held discussions in Brussels on 29 September-2 October 2020. There were substantive discussions on almost all issues.

Discussions covered all workstreams including:

Trade in goods: Core areas of the goods elements of the FTA, including market access, customs and regulatory issues.

Trade in services, investment and other FTA issues: Including mode 4, procurement, digital and intellectual property (including geographical indications).

Fisheries: Quota-sharing and governance.

“Level playing field”: Covering subsidies, tax, competition, labour, environment, sustainable development and governance.

Energy: Including civil nuclear co-operation and electricity and gas trading.

Transport: Road transport, aviation safety and air services.

Law enforcement: Covering a number of capabilities including Prüm, mutual legal assistance, extradition and our future arrangements with EU agencies.

Mobility and social security co-ordination: Social security co-ordination arrangements.

Participation in Union programmes: Covering the general terms for UK participation and Peace+.

Thematic co-operation: Including future health security and security of information arrangements.

Governance: Including appropriate institutional architecture.

There were positive discussions in the core areas of a trade and economic agreement, notably trade in goods and services, transport, energy, social security, and participation in EU programmes. This has however been true for some time. Progress has also been possible on a law enforcement agreement. In other areas, however, significant and familiar differences remain, notably on the level playing field, and on fisheries where the gap between us remains very large.

The Prime Minister spoke to President von der Leyen on 3 October to review the progress of negotiations. They agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, and instructed the chief negotiators to work intensively to try to do so, given how short time now is before the European Council on 15 October.