• Trade talks have begun in Brussels between the two parties with approximately 500 billion euros on the table
  • President Ursula von der Leyen has said that to gain “zero" tariffs and quotas, the UK must commit to “zero dumping."
  • The European Union's claim to be capable of removing London from the European market at whim is a dangerous precedent
  • Boris' ever-ready to walk away with no-deal

With Britain's divorce confirmed, trade talks have begun in Brussels between the two parties with approximately 500 billion euros on the table. Britain and the EU have both released their negotiating mandates. These mandates consist of the key points that both sides are in contention for. So, while it is positive that they share a goal of a free-trade agreement like the EU's with Canada, both sides have contrasting methods on how to come to an agreement over these shared goals. Additionally, Britain's number 10 has declared numerous times that an extension to the transition period is not possible past the December 31st deadline.

The matters that are contentious for both parties include access to British fishing grounds, trade in financial services, data protection, security co-operation and most importantly, a level playing field. Both sides have differing views on all these mandates and it is predicted that these are the key talking points to which any deal will be anchored upon.

On the issue of trade and the level playing field, the EU has asked the UK government to make a legally binding agreement not to undercut European companies. This will refer to following state aid rules of the European Union, thus, stopping Boris Johnson's government from giving out large subsidies to British companies.

President Ursula von der Leyen has said that to gain “zero" tariffs and quotas, the UK must commit to “zero dumping."

Britain expressed their disinterest in exploiting Brexit to undercut EU labourers nor in following EU state rules. Moreover, the EU seemingly has different rules for each partner that has agreed to an FTA, namely Canada, Japan and South Korea, all of whom do not have to abide by EU laws and regulations. The EU justifies the request for a legally binding agreement because Britain has direct links between the two markets and possibility of undermining EU's single market.

With financial services accounting for 6.9% of UK gross domestic product, EU's claim to be capable of removing London from the European market at whim is a dangerous precedent to set as the city has become a message of stability and predictability. This will also ensure a buffer-zone to ease any future withdrawals from the European markets.

In terms of security co-operation that the EU and Britain depend upon, Boris' government has requested faster access to data and has no interest in joining a European Agency like Europol or a Eurojust but fully intend on working with them. However, the European Union feels that any nation that is a part of Europe but not the EU should not expect a close-knit agreement. Both parties agree to the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights and what would happen should Britain not remain committed to the cause.

Fisheries are another point of contention for the two parties because of the EU's politicization of trade talks. The EU has linked fishing policy to trade talks in their mandate. The UK, however, wants independence on that front as well, citing the need to control its own fish stocks; the EU wants access and the same divisions that existed before Brexit. The EU has created confusion over their fishing policy by linking it with trade talks.

Both the European Union and Britain have turned on each other in the midst of talks. London has accused Brussels of reneging on the original deal and despite Boris' ever-readiness for no-deal, all arrows point to the fact that a deal will take place before the deadline approaches.