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EU Parliament votes to approve EU-UK trade deal

EU Parliament votes to approve EU-UK trade deal

Sassoli - UK vote © European Union 2021 - Source EP

(STRASBOURG) - The European Parliament voted by a large majority late Tuesday to give its formal approval to the agreement setting the rules for the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom.

The consent decision was adopted by 660 votes for, five against and 32 abstentions, while the accompanying resolution, setting out Parliament's evaluation of and expectations from the deal, passed by 578 votes, with 51 against and 68 abstentions. The vote took place on Tuesday, with results announced on Wednesday.

Despite the overwhelming approval, Parliamentary rapporteur Christophe Hansen MEP said the vote did not imply that MEPs were confident in the UK Government's intention "to implement our agreements in good faith. Rather, it is an EU insurance policy against further unilateral deviations from what was jointly agreed."

MEPs added that "much work remains on foreign policy and educational exchange programmes".

On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators had agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation. To minimise disruption, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. Parliament's consent is necessary for the agreement to enter into force permanently before its lapse on 30 April 2021.

In the resolution prepared by the UK Coordination Group and the Conference of Presidents, Parliament strongly welcomes the conclusion of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement that limits the negative consequences of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, which it considers a "historic mistake" as no third country can enjoy the same benefits as an EU member.

The zero quotas and zero tariffs trade agreement between the EU and the UK are viewed positively by MEPs, and guarantees on fair competition rules could serve as a model for future trade agreements, MEPs add. Parliament agrees with provisions on, among others, fisheries, consumers, air traffic and energy.

However, MEPs regret that the UK did not want the agreement to extend to foreign, security and development policies and did not want to participate in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme.

MEPs point to preserving peace on the island of Ireland as one of Parliament's main goals in agreeing the future relationship, and they condemn the UK's recent unilateral actions that are in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement. They call on the UK government "to act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements which it has signed", including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and apply them based on a timetable jointly set up with the European Commission.

MEPs underline that Parliament must play a full role in monitoring how the agreement is applied, including by being involved in unilateral EU actions under the agreement and having its views taken into account.

With Parliament's consent, the agreement will enter into force once Council has concluded it by 30 April.

Further information, European Parliament

The adopted texts will be available here (28.04.2021)

Steps of the procedure

EP Think Tank: At a glance - EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (April 2021)


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