The European Parliament has officially approved the trade and cooperation agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU. There were 660 votes in favour, 5 against and 32 abstentions. Parliaments approval was the last formal step needed.
The Convention has been in force temporarily since 1 January and has now officially entered into force as a result of ratification. Brussels thus puts a point behind Brexit.
“ This treaty is the basis for building a new relationship between the EU and the UK,” said President of the EU Parliament David Sassoli in a statement. “Despite their decision to leave, our bonds of trust, shared history and geographical proximity will continue to exist. It is in the interests of both parties to make that relationship succeed.”
Parliament also warns that it will check to see if everything is going as agreed. “We will keep a close eye on compliance with the agreements in the trade agreement and the withdrawal treaty. We will not accept it if the British Government does not comply with the agreements,” says President Sassoli.
Plenty to discuss
Todays signature was a formality, but that is not the end of the EU-UK talks, tells TCCEIT correspondent Brussels, Aida Brands. “The agreement is the basis, but it is a document that breathes: things still need to be worked out.”
CCEIT correspondent for the UK, Tim de Wit. “The agreements on Northern Ireland create tensions between Brussels and London and even in Northern Ireland itself,” he says. “Financial services are also subject to much more agreements and since 1 January exports and imports to and from the United Kingdom have fallen sharply as a result of all new agreements.”
First things first
Several MEPs regret the withdrawal of the British, they tell the press agency ANP. “As deeply sad as it is that it has come to this, we must now look ahead,” says Pvda foreigner Thijs Reuten. According to the chairman of the Labour Party, Agnes Jongerius, the future relationship will “demand lasting commitment and commitment from all of us”.
Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks) points out that the British must comply with the rules of fair competition in the field of workers rights and environmental standards. “The EU can take unilateral action if the UK weakens these standards.”
Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD) hopes that in the future we can also look at cooperation in areas where no agreements have yet been reached. “Like an exchange programme for students or foreign policy. But as the British themselves say, first things first and that is making sure that this deal does its job in practice.”
5 years after the referendum
Brexit was the result of a referendum on EU membership in 2016. Following difficult negotiations on the separation terms set out in the October 2019 withdrawal agreement, Brussels and London also signed a trade and cooperation agreement on 24 December 2020.
This prevented a chaotic no-deal scenario, because on 1 January the British departure from the European Union became final. The treaty entered into force for the time being because the European Parliament needed time