Negotiators from the UK and the EU met in Brussels on 2 – 5 March 2020 for the first round of negotiations on the UK-EU future relationship.
The negotiations were formally launched by the UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, and by the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a plenary session on 2 March.
The substantive discussions then took place within eleven separate negotiating groups, as agreed between the parties and as set out in the Terms of Reference (here). The session closed with a further plenary on 5 March.
Both sides presented their positions as set out in the EU mandate and in the document “The Future Relationship with the EU - The UK’s Approach to Negotiations” (CP211). The UK’s team made clear that on 1 January 2021 the UK would regain its economic and political independence in full, and that the future relationship would need to reflect that reality.
Discussions in some areas identified a degree of common understanding of the ground that future talks could cover. In other areas, notably fisheries, governance and dispute settlement, and the so-called “level playing field”, there were, as expected, significant differences.
The next negotiating round will take place on 18-20 March in London. The UK expects to table a number of legal texts, including a draft FTA, beforehand.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords