EP: Cherry-picking is a no-go

Little time left to reach an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship, members of the Parliament urged

Photo: EP David McAllister.

During the plenary session in Brussels, lawmakers adopted with overwhelming majority on Thursday their recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They expressed their worries that there is no real progress in the ongoing EU-UK trade talks after four rounds, and that differences remain substantial with little time left to reach an agreement.

According to the lawmakers, a comprehensive agreement is in the interest of both parties. They said it is “unacceptable” for the Union the UK’s cherry-picking approach and push for access to the single market after Brexit. MEPs voiced concerns over the British government’s insistence on only wanting to negotiate areas that are in the interests of the UK.

In the adopted text, Parliament expressed its full and unwavering support for the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in his talks with the British negotiators, based on the political mandate given to him by EU member states and Parliament.

The members of the EP urged the UK to respect its commitments set out in the Political Declaration, signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and ratified by both parties.

As precondition to ensure the trust needed to conclude a deal on the future relationship, MEPs pointed out strict implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the faithful implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, for the EU citizens in the UK but also on UK citizens’ rights in the EU.

Commenting on the plenary vote and the outcome of the EU-UK high-level meeting on 15 June, David McAllister (EPP, DE), Chair of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs and the UK Coordination Group said that the EU and the UK have shown their willingness to significantly advance in the negotiations during the month of July. He noted that with its timely resolution, the European Parliament is expressing its readiness to conclude an ambitious and fair agreement, without compromising its principles and its objectives.

Parliament’s consent to any future trade agreement with the UK is conditional on the British government agreeing on the conclusion of a satisfactory deal on fisheries and to a level playing field, MEPs asserted. This means common rules and standards have to be applied in the area of environmental protection, labour standards, and state aid, among others. 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 resolution underlines that the British government has so far not engaged in negotiations on the provisions ensuring equal competition. 

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