It’s news that is likely to get lost in the cut and thrust of today’s General Election campaigning, but the European Commission received its mandate to begin negotiations with the UK on Brexit. The three issues the EC want to discuss first include the divorce bill, the status and rights of EU citizens in the UK (and vice versa) and avoiding a hard Irish border.
What’s notable from the EC today, however, is it commitment to almost full transparency on its position. While this is in some ways a response to the closed-door process for negotiating the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, it also stands in contrast to the UK’s preference to keep its cards close to its chest.
So what has the EC committed publish? It says that,
Commission negotiating documents which are shared with EU Member States, the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, national parliaments, and the United Kingdom will be released to the public and will be published here. These documents include, but are not limited to:
- Agendas for negotiating rounds;
- EU position papers;
- EU text proposals.
As part of the statement, Michel Barnier, the Commission’s Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations with the UK, said: “We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the UK. Our objective is to rapidly reach an agreement on the issues put forward by the Council today.”
Barnier knows the UK is in the middle of an election, so most observers expect Brexit negotiations to begin on 19 June.