What does ‘red lines’ mean?

‘Red lines’ in negotiations are areas that one side states it cannot compromise on, due to some fundamental interest. In the Brexit negotiations, for example, the UK government argues ending freedom of movement between the UK and the EU is a ‘red line’. The EU negotiating mandate argues the indivisibility of the ‘four freedoms’ of the EU – goods, services, capital and labour – is a ‘red line’.

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