EU expected to adopt post-Brexit negotiating mandate this week.

The 27 remaining European Union member states are expected to adopt their negotiating mandate for talks about their new relationship with Britain after Brexit on Tuesday, paving the way to launching the talks as early as next week, a senior EU diplomat said on Monday.

Britain quit the bloc last month and the two sides have been jousting in the run-up to a new round of negotiations, with the EU demanding far-reaching guarantees of fair competition and London saying it would not be bound by EU rules on the so-called level playing field.

“The expectation is to adopt the negotiating mandate tomorrow, which would allow us to start negotiations very soon, even as early as next week,” Reuters reports the unnamed diplomat as saying.

France has so far held up agreeing the EU’s joint negotiating stance, seeking to strengthen the level playing field provisions, including to oblige Britain to follow the bloc’s rules and regulations in future in exchange for access to the EU’s cherished single market.

The current draft proposal, which the 27 national envoys in Brussels are due to discuss at 1330 on Monday, calls for any new trade treaty between the EU and Britain to uphold “high standards over time”.

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