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Brexit: MEPs resist UK cherry-picking

Plenary session - Opening of the sitting

Members of the Foreign Affairs and Trade committee of the European Parliament this week adopted a resolution pointing out that differences between the EU and UK remain substantial, and regretting that no real progress has been made in negotiations.

The resolution was tabled in advance of a meeting scheduled for Monday, when UK prime minister Boris Johnson is due to meet with European council president Charles Michel and EU commission president Ursula Von der Leyen, as well as parliament president David Sassoli.

The resolution emphasises that the Parliament’s consent to any future trade agreement with the UK is conditional on the British government agreeing to a level playing field (common rules and standards) in the areas of environmental protection, labour standards, and state aid among others, and on the conclusion of an agreement on fisheries. The UK has so far not engaged in negotiations on the provisions ensuring equal competition, the draft notes.

The report adopted today, which incorporates the opinions of no fewer than 17 committees, delivers a clear and strong message of unity ahead of the plenary vote next week,” said David McAllister, the German MEP who presides the UK coordination group as well as the committee on foreign affairs.

The European Parliament stands firmly behind the EU’s chief negotiator,” he said. “The UK government needs to start translating the political declaration into a comprehensive and fair agreement that lays the foundations for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. This agreement must be premised on the effective implementation of the withdrawal agreement and its three protocols. The high-level conference is a good opportunity to give new impetus to the negotiations.”

The text of the resolution warns against the UK government’s current piecemeal approach and emphasises that a comprehensive agreement is in the interest of both parties. Having the UK cherry-pick certain policies and its access to the single market after Brexit is “unacceptable” for the EU, says the text.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times