On 25 January 2021, the European Commission published Commissioner Mairead McGuinness’ opening remarks at the ECON Committee Structured Dialogue.

Among other things Commissioner McGuinness covers Brexit stating that talks have not yet started on the Memorandum of Understanding that the parties have agreed to reach by March 2021. She also adds that the Commission envisages a framework similar to what it has in place with the United States – a voluntary structure to compare regulatory initiatives, exchange views on international developments, and discuss equivalence related issues. Commissioner McGuiness states that it will not be about restoring market access rights that the UK lost, nor will it constrain the EU’s unilateral equivalence process.

According to Commissioner McGuinness once the UK and the EU agree on the working arrangements the Commission will turn to resuming its unilateral equivalence assessments of the UK, using the same criteria as with all third countries, including anti-money laundering and tax cooperation. She also mentions that the Commission “will only take decisions where they are in the EU’s interest” and the “UK intention to diverge requires a case-by-base discussion in each area”.