MEPs signal for Brexit negotiations to move to stage two

The European Parliament has welcomed the joint EU-UK progress report on the Brexit talks and recommends moving to phase two.

In a resolution voted on Wednesday, Parliament welcomes the joint Brexit progress report, as presented by EU and UK negotiators on 8 December. The resolution was passed by 556 votes  to 62, with 68 abstentions.

MEPs recommend that the EU27 heads of state or government decide on 15 December to move to phase two.   

However, negotiations can only progress during the second phase if the UK government fully respects the commitments it gave in the Joint Report and fully translates them into the draft Withdrawal Agreement, insist MEPs.  Comments “such as made by David Davis” recently, “risk undermining the good faith that has been built during the negotiations”, MEPs stated.

The resolution also notes five outstanding issues to be resolved in order to win Parliament’s  consent to the final agreement:

  1. extending coverage of citizens’ rights to future partners ,
  2. a light-touch, declaratory administrative procedure must be available for EU and UK citizens applying for ”permanent residence status”,
  3. European Court of Justice decisions on citizens’ rights must be binding, and the role of the ombudsman created to act on citizens’ complaints must be defined,
  4. the right of free movement for UK citizens currently residing in the EU27 member states must be guaranteed, and
  5. the UK’s commitments on Northern Ireland must be implemented.

 For the transition period, to be time limited,  MEPs want the full EU acquis (including citizens’ rights) and all oversight to be applicable to the UK.

The shape of future relations, to be discussed in phase two,  should be based on sound and unambiguous principles and could take the form of an EU-UK association agreement, underlines the resolution. 

Parliament has so far adopted two resolutions on the negotiations, on 5 April and 3 October 2017, prepared by Parliament’s Brexit steering group led by Guy Verhofstad chaired by (ALDE, BE). 

Parliament as a whole will have the final say on the outcome of negotiations when it votes to approve or reject the withdrawal deal, to be finalised by the end of March 2019.

The motion, drafted by Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, was debated with EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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