EU ambassadors today agreed on Michel Barnier’s mandate for the next phase of Brexit talks, according to two EU officials.
EU ministers will adopt the text on Tuesday as planned.
The latest version of the mandate has some additional changes on the sensitive issue of the so-called “level playing field,” which would require the U.K. to align with EU rules in exchange for access to the single market, according to one EU official. The U.K. wants to be able to diverge from EU regulation should it wish to.
The text will not be re-opened for further discussion at the General Affairs Council on Tuesday, although ministers might have to chance to say a few words before it’s adopted. After the Council, the EU is ready to start negotiations with the U.K.
“We have always said that we wanted to agree on the text before the 25th of February,” the EU official said. “We stood by our own timeline. At the same time it was important for member states to take their time and get it right to make sure everyone is on board.”