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EU-UK talks: MEPs display unwavering support for the EU position

18/06/2020

European Parliament regrets that differences remain substantial, with little time left to reach an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship.

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  • MEPs firmly behind EU negotiator Michel Barnier 
  • The UK’s cherry-picking approach is a no-go for the EU 
  • Agreement on level playing field and fisheries required to obtain European Parliament’s consent to any new trade deal and overall agreement
  • The resolution, adopted by 572 votes in favour, 34 against and 91 abstentions, will be available here (18.06.2020)

In a resolution adopted by a large majority today, taking stock of the EU-UK negotiations on a new partnership and acknowledging the negotiating parties’ call to intensify talks in July, MEPs regret however that no real progress has been achieved after four negotiating rounds, and that differences remain substantial.

They emphasise that a comprehensive agreement is in the interest of both parties. However, having the UK side cherry-pick certain policies and push for access to the single market after Brexit is “unacceptable” for the EU, says the text, expressing deep concern over the UK Government’s insistence on only wanting to negotiate areas that are in the interests of the UK.

The resolution also reiterates the EP's full and unwavering support for the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in his talks with the UK negotiators, based on the political mandate given to him by EU member states and the European Parliament (EP).

MEPs further call on the UK to respect its commitments set out in the Political Declaration, signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and ratified by both the EU and the UK.

Withdrawal obligations

Strict implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the faithful implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, for EU citizens in the UK but also on UK citizens’ rights in the EU, is a precondition for the trust needed to conclude a deal on the future relationship, notes the text.

Competition on equal footing, fisheries

The text further stresses that Parliament’s consent to any future trade agreement with the UK is conditional on the UK Government agreeing to a level playing field (common rules and standards) in the area of, among others, environmental protection, labour standards, and state aid, and on the conclusion of a satisfactory agreement on fisheries. This is a necessity due to the UK's geographical proximity, level of interconnectedness and already high level of existing alignment and interdependence with EU rules.

The UK Government has so far not engaged in negotiations on the provisions ensuring equal competition, the resolution notes.

Commenting on the plenary vote and the outcome of the EU-UK high-level meeting on 15 June, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the UK Coordination Group (UKCG) in the EP, David McAllister said, “The European Union and UK have shown their willingness to significantly advance in the negotiations during the month of July. With its timely resolution adopted today, the European Parliament is expressing its readiness to conclude an ambitious and fair agreement, without compromising our principles and our objectives.”

Click on names to view full video recordings of individual plenary statements by:

David McAllister (EPP, DE)

Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), Chair of the EP International Trade Committee, member of the UKCG

Kati Piri (S&D, NL), co-rapporteur, member of the UKCG

Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU), co-rapporteur, member of the UKCG

 

Background

The current transition period expires on 31 December 2020. For a new trade deal and overall agreement to enter into force the following day, it needs to be signed at the latest in October by the negotiating sides. The text would then need to be ratified by both the EP and the UK Parliament, and, in the case of a so-called mixed-agreement, by the national parliaments of all EU member states.

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PRESS RELEASE
Video recording of the debate (17.06.2020)
The outcome of roll call votes (17. and 18.06.2020)
The outcome of roll call votes (17. and 18.06.2020)
Press release and quotes after the vote in the two committees (12.06.2020)
Press release: “EU-UK future relations: “level playing field” crucial to ensure fair competition” (12.02.2020)
Profile of rapporteur Kati Piri (S&D, NL)
Profile of rapporteur Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU)
Brexit: Impact and consequences
EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material
Procedure file (draft report, amendments tabled, report tabled for plenary etc)