On 10 February 2020, the Prime Minister, Minister of State, Xavier Bettel, received Michel Barnier, Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, at the Château de Senningen. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, and the Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, also attended the meeting.
"First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Michel Barnier for maintaining the unity of the EU during the negotiations on British withdrawal from the European Union. It is essential to continue along this path, as only our unity will guarantee the success of the negotiations. Luxembourg therefore fully supports Michel Barnier as chief negotiator to defend the EU's interests in the negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom", noted the Prime Minister at the arrival of Michel Barnier at the Senningen Castle.
Thus, the discussions allowed for an in-depth exchange of views on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Regarding Luxembourg’s priorities in these negotiations, the Prime Minister noted that "given the importance of services for all EU economies, it is essential to find a pragmatic, efficient and sustainable solution in order to avoid any market disruption. With regard to financial services in particular, Luxembourg insists on a structured regulatory cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom, this in order to ensure predictability and stability for economic operators in this sector".
On the subject of the level playing field between the EU and the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister reiterated his support for the European Commission's approach: "For Luxembourg, the level of access to the Single Market must be proportional to the level and quality of guarantees on the UK side regarding the respect of a level playing field. The European Union must also have the means to closely monitor legislative developments in the United Kingdom in order to be able to react in the event of major divergences."
For his part, Minister Asselborn thanked Michel Barnier for the good cooperation between his team and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. "It is in particular thanks to Michel Barnier's method of taking into account the specific interests of the different Member States, which has allowed to preserve the unity of the European Union", commented Jean Asselborn. With regard to the draft negotiating directives presented on 3 February by Michel Barnier, Minister Asselborn supported a very ambitious trade agreement as proposed by the Commission. "The future agreement must reflect the EU's high social, environmental, climate and fiscal standards" stressed Minister Asselborn. The new economic partnership with the United Kingdom should also be accompanied by financial services equivalence and adequacy decisions on data protection. Likewise, the future partnership must include cooperation on external security.
The Minister of Finance for his part welcomed the fact that the European Union and the United Kingdom had divorced by mutual consent. He explained: "The Luxembourg Government's approach to the negotiations on future relations is to preserve the UK's close link with the European Union and our country. In particular, when it comes to financial services, Luxembourg and the City of London have everything to gain. Close ties may continue to be all the stronger if the United Kingdom does not depart from the Community acquis."
Press release by the Ministry of State, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Finance