On 25 February 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a new partnership with the UK, and formally nominating the European Commission as the EU’s negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.

The Council decision and the negotiating directives are based on a recommendation presented by the Commission on 3 February 2020. They build on the political declaration agreed by the EU and the UK in October 2019, as well as on the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines on the future EU-UK relationship of March 2018 and April 2017.

The Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March.