Yesterday, the European Commission issued a press release setting out a recommendation to the European Council to begin negotiations on the future relationship with the UK. The recommendation includes the draft text of the negotiating directives; these set out the parameters of the future relationship that the EU wishes to have with the UK (e.g. in areas such as trade and economic cooperation amongst others) and build on the Political Declaration. As soon as the General Affairs Council adopts the draft negotiating directives, the European Commission will be formally authorised to open negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship as the Union negotiator.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has also published a written statement setting out the UK Government’s proposed approach to the future UK/EU relationship. According to the statement, the focus of the negotiations will be the “question for the rest of 2020…whether the UK and EU can agree a deeper trading relationship on the lines of the free trade agreement the EU has with Canada, or whether the relationship will be based simply on the Withdrawal Agreement deal agreed in October 2019, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.”