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Barnier urges transparency and trust in Brexit talks

17 May 2017, 22:43 CET
Barnier urges transparency and trust in Brexit talks

Michel Barnier - Photo © European Union 2017 - Source EP

(STRASBOURG) - Speaking to a European Parliament plenary session which underlined the EU's united approach, chief negotiator Michel Barnier called for transparency and trust in the upcoming Brexit talks with the UK.

MEPs were debating the guidelines for the EU negotiations with the UK that the European Council agreed at its last meeting in April. EU Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Juncker also took take part in the debate.

In a statement, M Barnier said he wanted a deal with the UK, not a deal against the UK at the talks, which would begin immediately following the UK's 8 June national election.

He underlined the importance of trust. He promised the EU institutions would be transparent throughout the negotiations, permanently available to exchanges before every negotiating round, and that there would be substantial transparency with all the negotiating documents.

MEPs also underlined the importance of unity and trust so that, in parallel to negotiations being carried out for an 'orderly withdrawal' of the UK, EU reform can take place to respond to the concerns of EU citizens and make the benefits of European integration more visible.

Council president Tusk presented to MEPs the Guidelines for Brexit negotiations agreed by the Member States at the summit on 29 April. He welcomed the alignment with the 'red lines' set by the European Parliament. The detailed negotiating mandate will be presented for adoption at a European Council summit on 22nd May.

The Parliament's debate focused on the basic principles underpinning future negotiations, as recalled by Michel Barnier. These included that no negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom can take place before "tangible progress" is made; a guarantee of the rights of European citizens affected by the UK's decision to leave the EU; upholding the Northern Ireland peace process (including the absence of physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland); and that the United Kingdom should respect all the financial commitments made as a Member State.

The vote in the UK for Brexit and the rise in populism in some countries, in particular in France and the Netherlands, should be a lesson to European leaders, said many MEPs.

Whilst the victories of pro-European parties was welcomed, several MEPs urged not to pat ourselves too much on the back; "populism and nationalism are not dead".

More than ever, it is vital to listen to citizens and respond to their expectations in defining the future of the EU: social and environmental norms in a globalised world, organisation of the job market in the face of technological challenges, taxation and the security of European citizens must all be taken into account, said MEPs.

Further information, European Parliament

Steps of the procedure

European Parliament resolution: Negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union

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