In a bid to appease France, EU ambassadors agreed to harden the bloc’s mandate for a post-Brexit free-trade agreement with Britain. Under the plan, the UK will be expected to “uphold common high standards, and corresponding high standards over time with Union standards as a reference point”. It will make the basis of the so-called “level playing field” for state aid, taxation, environment and workers’ rights rules and regulations.
Senior EU diplomats also insisted that the bloc should “have the possibility to apply autonomous, including interim, measures to research quickly to disruptions of the equal conditions of competitions”, according to a text seen by Express.co.uk.
The full document will be rubber-stamped tomorrow at Brussels EU ministerial meeting.
Changes were made at the request of Paris, which has demanded the bloc takes hardline on Britain before any future trade deal can be agreed.
President Emmanuel Macron wants to ensure the Government can not slash regulations in order to make the UK more competitive.
EU sources claim the “fudged” negotiating text is designed to keep the UK and Brussels “in step with each other”.
One insider said: “It’s stronger than non-regression but weaker than dynamic alignment.”
But the bloc has maintained that Britain should remain “dynamically aligned” to its rules on state aid.
The agreed text states: “The envisaged partnership should ensure the application of Union State aid rules to and in the United Kingdom.”
The newly formed demands will rile up British negotiators, who have warned they are prepared to walk away from talks if Brussels is unreasonable.
Boris Johnson is said to be preparing a “robust” response to the EU’s demands for a “level playing field” on rules and regulations.
Ahead of formal negotiations, which are expected to start in March, France has accused the Prime Minister of attempting to “blackmail” the bloc into signing a bad deal.
Europe minister Amelie de Montchalin said: “We will not accept blackmailing or pressure over the dates.
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