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David Frost, the U.K.’s chief Brexit negotiator, will set out Britain’s goals for talks over its future relationship with the European Union in a speech in Brussels on Monday as the two sides prepare to thrash out an agreement before the end of the year.
Amid warnings from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of a fierce clash over future trade terms, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said the U.K. isn’t seeking special treatment, but wants a deal similar to those agreed by the EU with other countries.
After an analysis of the demands in the bloc’s draft negotiation mandate, Johnson’s team said it’s unreasonable the U.K. is currently being offered more stringent terms on state aid, tax and standards than the EU has agreed in deals with Korea, Japan and Canada.
Le Drian said on Sunday that while he wants the talks completed as soon as possible, there are “some serious issues,” including fishing, where the two sides are at odds as they try to negotiate their post-Brexit relationship.
“On trade issues and the mechanism for future relations, which we are going to start on now, we are going to rip each other apart,” Le Drian said at the Munich Security Conference. “But that is part of negotiations, everyone will defend their own interests.”
The U.K.’s negotiating “Task Force,” led by Frost, held meetings last week to finalize its position and is preparing to argue that Britain already has higher standards than the EU on workers’ rights, environmental protection and subsidies, so the alignment demanded by the bloc doesn’t make sense, the prime minister’s office said.
Frost’s lecture will be the first of a series of public interventions on the U.K.’s position because he sees secrecy as a key factor in Theresa May’s failure to reach an acceptable agreement with Brussels, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.
–With assistance from Iain Rogers.
To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Steve Geimann
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