The Council of the European Union just published a press release which says that today’s Foreign Affairs Council gave the Commission a negotiating mandate. The mandate extends to a Free Trade Agreement and also to a Framework Agreement. Both agreements will be negotiated in parallel.
From the press release:
The negotiating directives foresee a free trade agreement that would provide for the progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade in goods, services and investment, as well as rules on trade-related issues and the elimination of non-tariff barriers.
The negotiating directives for a framework agreement cover political, global and sectoral cooperation in a comprehensive manner.
The most urgent issue in need of global cooperation is of course climate, and one thing these negotiations should address is cooperation for making a Desertec Asia project happen quickly.
Related post: My book “Energy from the Mongolian Gobi desert”, where I develop a proposal of a “Desert Union” for these talks.