Monday, 21 December 2020
As no post-Brexit agreement was reached by Sunday, the European Parliament will not ratify an agreement before the end of the year, the head of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee announced on Sunday night.
The Parliament had said on Thursday that, should an agreement be reached by the end of the week, it would hold an extraordinary plenary meeting to ratify the deal before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. In that transition period, the UK remains part of the EU’s single market and customs union.
While it will not hold an extraordinary plenary meeting as no deal was reached, the Parliament “is committed to take any step that minimises disruptions for our citizens and businesses,” said David McAllister, chairman of the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
McAllister said that he would meet with European Parliament President David Sassoli “to discuss the next possible steps.”
Meanwhile, talks continued in Brussels on Monday, after chief Brexit negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier tweeted that “in this crucial moment” for the negotiations, “we continue to work hard” with British Brexit negotiator David Frost and his team.
“The EU remains committed to a fair, reciprocal & balanced agreement,” Barnier added. “We respect the sovereignty of the UK. And we expect the same.”
In this crucial moment for the
🇪🇺🇬🇧 negotiations, we continue to work hard with @DavidGHFrost and his team.
The EU remains committed to a fair, reciprocal & balanced agreement. We respect the sovereignty of the UK. And we expect the same. (1/2)
— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) December 20, 2020
From a British perspective, “talks remain difficult and significant differences remain,” a UK government official said according to various British media, adding that “we continue to explore every route to a deal that is in line with the fundamental principles we brought into the negotiations.”
If the EU and the UK do not reach an agreement on their post-Brexit trade relationship, World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules will apply between them, with introduction of high tariffs and extensive customs controls.
The Brussels Times