Tag Archives: Michel Barnier

EU-UK: Europarl votes Agreement

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.

EU-UK: preparations for no-deal

Brussels 10.12.2020 In spite of the considerable efforts of the negotiators “very large gaps remain” between the UK and EU, despite talks in persona between Boris Johnson, who came to Brussels, and EU to executive Ursula von der Leyen aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock, according to No 10 spokesperson.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart“. Meanwhile talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will resume in Brussels. However British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “unlikely” the negotiations would be extended beyond December 13, Sunday.

After their meeting, the British Prime minister and European Commission president “agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks”, a No 10 spokesperson added.

In view of the looming no-deal on Thursday morning, the EU set out the measures it would implement in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The plan includes allowing aviation safety certificates to continue to apply to avoid the grounding of aircraft.

“The EU will “never sacrifice (its) future” to conclude a post-Brexit agreement at the cost of concessions that would weaken its single market, warned European negotiator Michel Barnier, while negotiations between Brussels and London are deadlocked.

Brexit: no-deal looming

Brussels 04.12.2020 “After one week of intense negotiations in London, together with
David Frost, we agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries” the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier wrote on his Twitter account.

“We agreed to pause the talks in order to brief our Principals on the state of play of the negotiations. President von der Leyen, and Prime Minister Johnson will discuss the state of play tomorrow afternoon” Barnier informed. The similar announcement made the UK sherpa David Frost on his micro blog.

After a long period of the negotiations, shifting from one deadlock to another, there is little hope left to see the deal done. There is also little expectation for last minute “miracle” solution patching the differences. There is no hope in the last minute mending done by Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen who would meet on have talks on December 7.

EU stands behind Barnier

Brussels 15.10.2020 “…The European Council invites the Unionʼs chief negotiator (Michel Barnier) to continue negotiations in the coming weeks, and calls on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible” the text of European Council conclusions on EU-UK relations reads.

The EU Council president Charles Michel expressed the leaders concern by lack of progress in the EU-UK talks.

The European Council reaffirmed the Union’s determination to have “as close as possible” a partnership with the United Kingdom on the basis of the negotiating directives of 25 February 2020, while respecting the previously agreed European Council guidelines, as well as statements and declarations, notably those of 25 November 2018, in particular as regards the level playing field, governance and fisheries, according to the Council conclusions.

EU-UK: ready for “all outcomes”

Brussels 15.10.2020 The EU leaders agreed to continue the “difficult” talks with the UK, shaping new trade agreement with the former member of the bloc, however they also have underlined that it is necessary to be ready to “all outcomes”, including no-deal scenario. Image above (archive).

“We will have the opportunity, also this afternoon, to tackle the future relationship with the UK. We want an agreement, but we also want to protect the level playing field. It’s a question of fairness, it’s a question of jobs, it’s also the question of the integrity of the single market. We are ready to continue to negotiate with the UK. This is a difficult negotiation, we all know that. And we will have the opportunity to have an exchange of views with all the European leaders” Charles Michel (pictured), the EU Council president said, while entering the meeting.

#EUCO: EU-UK future relations at stake

Brussels 13.10.2020 Today the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has informed the EU Ministers on the state of play of talks between the block and the UK, and the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. He also confirmed the “strong EU unity” ahead of European Council on October 15-16. Barnier added that the EU will continue to work for a fair deal in the coming days and weeks.

Ahead of the Council European Council President Charles Michel has called the British government to put “all cards on the table” respecting to Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. “To get to a deal, we need significant steps by our British friends in the coming days”, he added.

“We have given a very strong signal to the British government: If the Finance Bill is introduced with that provision in it, many in the EU will see that as an indication that the British government simply doesn’t want a deal. It would be a second piece of legislation designed to deliberately break the Withdrawal Agreement text”.

With the 15 October European Council date approaching, the negotiations between the EU and the UK are becoming more intense to meet the deadline.

Michel Barnier next travelled to London to meet with UK Chief Negotiator David Frost, while informal talks continued this past week. European Council President Charles Michel and Prime Minister Johnson spoke by phone on 7 October to discuss the progress of the intensified negotiations ahead of the 15 October Summit.

Since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s joint statement over the weekend, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier travelled to Berlin on Monday to meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

The latter stressed the pandemic has made the negotiations with the UK even more difficult. Regardless of this hurdle, Maas added a no-deal Brexit would be “irresponsible”, saying the EU remains open to establishing a “close and ambitious partnership” with the UK. He warned, however, that progress is needed at this stage of the talks on state aid, the Irish border and dispute resolution.

Meanwhile, the UK Government announced its intention to push through a Finance Bill (not yet published) for approval by the end of the year could prove problematic for achieving a deal with the EU. The Bill is expected to include clauses which would allow the UK Government to make unilateral decisions about which goods were “at risk” of being traded on from Northern Ireland into the EU, and should therefore be subject to tariffs. The EU argues that this would be a further breach the Withdrawal Agreement and may therefore risk a no-deal exit scenario.

On October 7 in a separate procedure the Scottish Parliament voted to withhold consent on the UK’s Internal Market Bill. Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have stated the Bill overrides their powers of administration.

#EUCO: Mid-October Council agenda

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on 15-16 October to discuss the whole range of issues, including the epidemiological situation, relations with the United Kingdom, as well as climate change and relations with Africa, namely the post-Cotonou agreement.

COVID-19
The European Council will look at the current epidemiological situation. Leaders will also discuss overall coordination and the work on the development and distribution of a vaccine at the EU level.

EU-UK relations
The European Council will take stock of the implementation of the withdrawal agreement and review the state of the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership. Leaders will discuss preparatory work for all scenarios after 1 January 2021. EU-UK negotiations on the future partnership.

Climate change
EU leaders will look at the progress made towards delivering the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050. Following the adoption by the Commission of a 2030 Climate Target Plan, the EU leaders will hold an orientation debate on climate change-related issues.

The European Council will also discuss EU-Africa relations and may address other foreign policy issues, depending on developments, and the Cotonou agreement, which is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It covers the EU’s relations with 79 countries, including 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Brexit: EU intensifies negotiations

The post-Brexit trade talks remained deadlocked on key areas, as London urged Brussels to give ground to avoid a damaging “no-deal” at the end of the year. They have pinpointed a European summit to October 15 as the latest agreement could be reached for it to be ratified in time for it take effect at the end of the year.

However the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost complained of a continued gulf between the two sides in crucial areas such as competition rules and fishing rights.

After the ninth round of talks in the difficult process broke up in Brussels, with renewed commitments to find a way out of the impasse, there was clear acknowledgement the deadline approaches.

“To reach an agreement, these divergences must necessarily be overcome over the next weeks,” said Barnier.

Despite indicating there were signs of agreement in a number of areas, Frost warned disagreements over competition rules and fishing may be “impossible” to overcome without the EU giving ground.

“I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on October 15,” he said.

Next steps may be determined on October 3 in a video conference between European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Johnson said it was up to Brussels to agree to terms to unblock a deal.

“It’s all there, it’s just up to them,” he told the BBC, urging the EU to bow to common sense.

UK and EU officials have underlined the two leaders would take stock of progress made in the latest round of talks even as the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned against a deal “at any price”.

“This is so difficult, but overall where there is a will there is a way. I think we should intensify the negotiations,” the EU top executive told press after meeting leaders of the 27-member bloc.

EU “firm” on respecting Brexit deal

Brussels 21.09.2020 According to an EU official the president of the EU Council Charles Michel met with top EU-UK negotiator Michel Barnier today to discuss a number of issues concerning the ongoing talks with the United Kingdom on the comprehensive trade agreement. The central focus has been the state of play of the negotiations, especially regarding the intention of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to re-write the Withdrawal Agreement unilaterally.

PM Johnson defends his plan to unilaterally rewrite Britain’s Brexit deal with the European Union as an insurance policy against the bloc’s unreasonable behaviour — even as his former attorney general joined the ranks of once-loyal lawmakers refusing the contentious move.
Regarding the situation the EU official said that the position of the bloc remains “firm and steady” towards the need to fully implement the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU will not be “intimidated nor impressed”, but still the breaking of the international agreement remains “extremely worrying”.
Meanwhile Michel Barnier is also to preparing the briefing for the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states at special European Council on September 24-25, reporting on analysis of the situation.
At present the EU is looking for an agreement on our future relation, but that requires substantial progress on key issues as level playing field and fisheries, the EU official has underlined.

#SoTEU: Leyen WARNS UK

The UK has no legal power to unilaterally set aside the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed by Boris Johnson, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned in her State of Union #SOTEU speech on September 16. In the traditional annual address of the president of the European Commission to the European Parliament. The president said both sides had agreed it was the only way to guarantee the Northern Ireland peace process. In her speech she insisted that the trust would be undermined if the UK started reverse its international Treaty obligations.
Ursula von der Leyen addressed issue of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was concluded as a direct result of Brexit.

“We need new beginnings with old friends – on both of sides of the Atlantic and on both sides of the Channel. The scenes in this very room when we held hands and said goodbye with Auld Lang Syne spoke a thousand words. They showed an affection for the British people that will never fade. But with every day that passes the chances of a timely agreement do start to fade. Negotiations are always difficult. We are used to that.
And the Commission has the best and most experienced negotiator, Michel Barnier, to navigate us through.
But talks have not progressed as we would have wished. And that leaves us very little time.

As ever, this House will be the first to know and will have the last say. And I can assure you we will continue to update you throughout, just as we did with the Withdrawal Agreement.That agreement took three years to negotiate and we worked relentlessly on it. Line by line, word by word. And together we succeeded. The result guarantees our citizens’ rights, financial interests, the integrity of the Single Market – and crucially the Good Friday Agreement.

“The EU and the UK jointly agreed it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland.
And we will never backtrack on that. This agreement has been ratified by this House and the House of Commons.
It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied. This a matter of law, trust and good faith.
And that is not just me saying it – I remind you of the words of Margaret Thatcher: “Britain does not break Treaties. It would be bad for Britain, bad for relations with the rest of the world, and bad for any future Treaty on trade”. This was true then, and it is true today.
Trust is the foundation of any strong partnership” von der Leyen said.

Boris Johnson has urged MPs to support a bill which modifies the Brexit deal he signed with the EU in January. While the British Prime Minister said the Internal Markets Bill would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” and hand power to Scotland and Wales, and it would protect the Northern Ireland peace process. Critics insist that the move will damage the UK’s international standing after a minister admitted the plans break international law.

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