Brussels 27.04.2021 Parliament to decide whether to give its consent to EU-UK agreement
MEPs will vote on giving their consent to the agreement that sets the rules for the future EU-UK relationship, on Tuesday, April 27, with the result announced on Wednesday morning, April 28.
They will also debate and vote on a resolution assessing the agreement, in which they insist on its full implementation along with the Withdrawal Agreement, and stressing Parliament’s role in scrutinising the practical application of the deals. The result of the votes will be announced at 9:00 on Wednesday.
On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation on free trade without quotas and tariffs, on fisheries, energy, internal security and fair competition standards. To minimise disruption, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021 and will lapse on 30 April 2021. Parliament’s consent is necessary for the agreement to enter into force permanently.
“This is a divorce. It is a warning, Brexit. It’s a failure of the European Union and we have to learn lessons from it… Why did 52% of the British vote against Europe?… Our duty is to listen and understand the feelings of the people,” the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told lawmakers, who gave him a standing ovation for his work.
The draft text, prepared by the political groups in the UK Coordination Group and by the Conference of Presidents, calls the UK’s departure from the EU a “historical mistake”. It welcomes the trade and cooperation agreement, but condemns recent unilateral UK actions in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and demands that the agreed terms of the deal be fully implemented.
With Parliament’s consent, the agreement will enter into force once Council has voted on it.
The Council adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a new partnership with the UK and formally nominating the Commission as the EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.
The first formal meeting between the EU and UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EU ministers also discussed the next steps in the EU-UK relationship.
The Council adopted a decision giving the go-ahead to open negotiations on a new partnership with the UK. The Council also nominated the Commission as EU negotiator and adopted the negotiating directives which set the scope of the future partnership. This mandate covers areas such as trade, fisheries, foreign policy, security and defence, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
As a next step, the Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions.
“The Council has adopted a clear and strong mandate for our negotiator, Michel Barnier. This confirms our readiness to offer an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced partnership to the UK for the benefit of both sides. The EU is now ready to start negotiations” said
Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs.
The Brexit transition period of around two years revealed in EU draft guidelines on Friday is a “decent amount of time” but a longer period could be needed to ratify a future trade deal, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.
“Two years is a decent amount of time, we would be happy for it to be longer but we’re also comfortable with two years,” Varadkar told a news conference after hailing Friday’s agreement on the Irish border as “a very significant day” for the whole of the island.
“I would add one word of caution to having a transition phase of two years, obviously what we’re going to want to do is negotiate new treaties between the UK and EU. It can take many years to negotiate treaties and how long the transition phase should be, in my view, must be linked to how long it will take us to secure ratification of those treaties.”