Brexit: MEPs set out conditions for approval of UK withdrawal agreement

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Brexit: MEPs set out conditions for approval of UK withdrawal agreementThe Conference of Presidents endorsed a motion for a resolution drawn up by the leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which they set out their conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom. The draft resolution will be debated and voted on by the full house next Wednesday.

The motion attaches great importance to fair treatment of EU-27 citizens and stresses the need for reciprocity and non-discrimination between UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK. Details are as shown below:

Continued obligations

“The United Kingdom must continue to both enjoy all its rights and respect all its obligations under the EU Treaty until it leaves, including financial commitments under the current long-term EU budget, even if those go beyond the withdrawal date.

“This also means that the UK must continue to accept the four freedoms, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, general budgetary contributions and adherence to the EU’s common trade policy until it leaves.” MEPs’ insist on the importance of addressing the issue of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“An orderly exit is an absolute requirement and a precondition for any potential future EU-UK partnership. This is not negotiable. The privilege of Union membership comes with responsibilities and these responsibilities mean guaranteeing the four freedoms. The four freedoms are the glue that binds it together and are indivisible,” said Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament.

Sincere cooperation

The groups and the constitutional committee note that it would be against EU law for the UK to begin negotiations on possible trade agreements with third countries before it has left the EU and they also expect sincere cooperation from the UK in negotiations on EU legislation in other policy areas until it leaves. They warn that bilateral agreements between the UK and one or several remaining EU countries, for instance in respect of UK-based financial institutions, would be in breach of the EU Treaties.

“For us, it is an absolute priority to settle citizens’ rights as soon as possible. It needs to be the first issue to be tackled in the negotiations. Citizens shouldn’t become bargaining chips,” Guy Verhofstadt, EP coordinator on Brexit for the European Parliament stressed.

Photograph: Courtesy European Parliament Office Malta

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