The European Union (EU) has approved a tough opening position for talks with the United Kingdom (UK) on its future relationship with the bloc.
MEPs called on the UK to follow EU policies in a host of areas as the price for an ambitious free trade deal.
These range from chemicals regulation to climate change, food labelling and subsidies for companies.
This should be with “a view to dynamic alignment” – code for the UK adopting European rules as they are introduced.
The wide-ranging resolution also called for measures to ensure that Brexit does not cause gender discrimination, for a crackdown on tax havens with links to the UK, and for a joint UK-EU position at the upcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow in November.
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It’s an attempt to influence the detailed instructions for the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier – “the mandate” – currently being discussed by the European Commission and the governments of the EU’s 27 member states.
It’s also the latest example of the mandate being toughened up as it passes from institution to institution in the EU.
When Barnier published a first draft in early February, there was no mention of alignment and definitely not the automatic kind.
Then a new version emerged that had been tweaked by diplomats from national governments.
It had extra references to the need for a level playing field – commitments by the UK to fair economic competition to prevent European businesses being undercut by their British rivals. And those commitments would have to evolve over time