The European Commission is preparing a negotiation mandate as it has been asked by the European Council at its last meeting. A draft mandate is likely to be presented at the next Council working party meeting on trade questions on 14th January 2020. The European Parliament should also be immediately informed about the mandate. Concerning the text of the mandate, the European Council expects that “the future relationship will have to (…) ensure a level playing field.” Michel Barnier, the head of the Commission’s UK task force, has also made this clear on multiple occasions.
Throughout January 2020 the Council will be busy getting ready to negotiate the future EU-UK trade agreement. The working party on Article 50 will go through a series of intensive seminar sessions on a range of trade-related topics, the level playing field being one of them.