Statement on EU-UK negotiations

Adopted at the Executive Committee Meeting of 2-3 July 2020

Negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and UK resumed on 29 June after the UK declared its intention not to extend the transition period.

Both the EU and the UK are entering a global recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially leaving millions of people in long-term unemployment.

This will be exacerbated if there is no deal. If the negotiations fail and a deal is not reached and ratified before the end of 2020, the UK will be trading with the EU under WTO rules.

As trade unions all over Europe have already pointed out, this will have massive negative consequences for regional supply chains and employment.

Europe does not need to add another source of economic downturn, a no deal must be avoided. Workers and trade unions are also concerned that a bare-bone deal could have similar negative impact if it does not include level playing field provisions.

Thus the ETUC encourages the EU chief negotiator to stay firm on the Level Playing Field provisions. Ensuring effective and strong level playing field rules and enforcement mechanisms, notably on workers’ rights, are respected in a future deal is of fundamental importance to prevent a race to the bottom.

This level playing field on worker’s rights should not be limited to the free movement of workers but cover the respect into law and practices of the whole EU social acquis, the European social charters and pertinent ILO standards.

The ETUC also encourages the European Commission and Member States to actively involve trade unions in preparation for a No-Deal scenario. In addition, in all scenarios, whether a deal is reached or not, trade unions must be involved in the monitoring and implementation.