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MEPs call for UK guarantee of 'level-playing field' after Brexit transition

MEPs call for UK guarantee of 'level-playing field' after Brexit transition

UK-EU - Image © jonybigude - Fotolia

(STRASBOURG) - The EU Parliament called Wednesday for 'dynamic alignment' of EU-UK rules after Brexit transition, and protection for the EU's most sensitive sectors, in the upcoming talks on a new EU-UK partnership.

The Parliament's resolution provides MEPs' initial input to the upcoming negotiations with the British government on a new EU-UK partnership after the Brexit transition period.

MEPs want the association agreement with the UK to be as deep as possible, based on three main pillars: an economic partnership, a foreign affairs partnership and specific sectoral issues. However, they make clear that a non-EU country cannot enjoy the same rights as a member state and "the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union must be preserved at all times".

To reach a new ambitious free trade agreement, MEPs broadly agree with the lines along which the Commission has proposed to negotiate. Given the size of the UK's economy and its proximity, future competition with the EU must be kept open and fair through a "level playing field", which means guarantees for equal rules on, among other things, social, environmental, tax, state aid, consumer protection and climate matters.

To maintain quota-free, tariff-free trade relations, the Parliament says the British government should pledge to update its rules on, for instance, competition, labour standards and environmental protection, in order to ensure "dynamic alignment" of EU-UK laws.

The resolution also makes clear that to gain Parliament's consent, any EU-UK free trade deal must be conditional on a prior agreement on fisheries by June 2020.

If the UK does not comply with EU laws and standards, MEPs say the Commission should "evaluate possible quotas and tariffs for the most sensitive sectors as well as the need for safeguard clauses to protect the integrity of the EU single market." This is seen as particularly important for food and agricultural imports, which have to strictly comply with EU rules.

The text also contains chapters on citizens' rights and mobility of persons, data protection, the future of financial services, the situation on the island of Ireland, the role of the European Court of Justice in settling disputes, EU programmes and agencies, foreign policy and security matters, as well as other European Parliament priorities, and will be available in full here.

Parliament also supports the fact that Gibraltar will not be included in the scope of the agreements to be concluded, and that any separate agreement will require the Spanish government's prior approval.

The resolution is based on the Commission's draft negotiating directives, present by EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier 3 February. These set out the purpose, scope and objectives for the talks. They also need to be signed off by EU27 member states' representatives in the Council, which is expected to happen on 25 February.

Further information, European Parliament

EP Research Service "The European Parliament after Brexit" (14.01.2020)

EP Research Service "The revised Brexit deal: What has changed and next steps?" (22.10.2019)


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