European Union ministers are meeting in Brussels to sign their negotiating mandate for the trade talks with the UK. The European Union is asking Britain not to undermine European companies with lower environmental, labor, tax and state aid standards in exchange for no tariffs and no quotas. The trade talks are expected to begin next week.
“We can have an agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas if we can be sure ... we will have common norms ...regulatory proximity on the basis of EU rules,” stated French minister, “If we cannot maintain this regulatory proximity, then we must ... apply tariffs or quotas,” she added.
Apparently Britain is willing to face tariffs and quotas as long as it keeps its economic independence, as they're aiming for a deal similar to the one Canada has with the Bloc.
One of the points of contention is Britain's supposed lack of willingness to respect the withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal agreement includes provisions for Northern Ireland to stay inside the bloc during the transition period, which technically means establishing a customs border between Northern Ireland and the UK.
The UK government denied this rumor, claiming that they intend to abide by the treaties.
"The UK signed the withdrawal agreement, including the protocol, last month. We will comply with our obligation," said the Prime Minister's spokesman.
However, this didn't stop the Irish minister, Simon Coveney from warning the UK against not keeping its promises saying that not complying with the terms of the deal would have serious consequences. The German minister, Michael Roth, said that the UK should keep its promises based on the protocol.
"My message is crystal clear to our friends in London - keep your promises, based on the protocol," he said.
By 10:25 GMT the Euro went down by 0.09 percent against the US dollar, falling to the 1.0842 level.