Negotiators in Brussels will tell Boris Johnson’s team they will impose restrictions unless the UK agrees to align itself with European regulations and abide by the bloc’s timetable for trade discussions. They will also warn of possible disruptions to data flow to British commerce if the UK does not meet their demands. A document seen by The Times lays out the EU’s plan to take “possible decisions on adequacy [personal data] and equivalence [financial services]”.
The paper relates to the upcoming internal talks involving European governments which will take place in two weeks’ time.
A senior European diplomat was quoted as saying: “These are both big levers for the EU.
“Data adequacy and equivalence are decisions under our direct control, decisions that can be reversed at any time and that will be linked to progress in the wider negotiations.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said in the past that the UK must stick to a “level playing field” in order to get a free trade deal with Brussels.
Michel Barnier told delegates at a behind-closed-doors meeting at the European Parliament in November that Britain would have to vow not to undercut EU regulation before a deal can be signed.
He said among the top priorities for Brussels after January 31 would be to cooperate with the UK on security and defence, the Financial Times reported.
If the EU carried out its threats, security and crime intelligence co-operation with the UK could be harmed.
Financial and telecommunications services would also be at risk.
The Prime Minister has vowed to not extend the Brexit transition period beyond December 31 2020.
Mr Johnson has said he will aim for a “super Canada-plus” deal which has encouraged Brexiteers.
But critics say this will be impossible to strike as it took seven years to thrash out and the UK only has 11 months.
Meanwhile European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU may need to extend the deadline for talks.
She told French daily newspaper Les Echos that both sides needed to seriously think about whether there is enough time to negotiate a new trade deal and work out agreements about a series of other issues.
“It would be reasonable to evaluate the situation mid-year and then, if necessary, agree on extending the transition period,” she told the paper.