European Parliament vote on UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement marks new chapter
Today, Members of the European Parliament will vote on their consent on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (UK TCA) that sets out the future relationship between the EU and the UK. The agreement has been provisionally applied since the start of the year to avoid disruptions between the EU and UK. The agreement requires the consent of the Parliament. The Parliament's final vote will take place tonight from around 20.00, with the announcement of the vote expected tomorrow morning.
Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA Group and member of the UK Coordination Group in the European Parliament, comments:
"No agreement of this sort is a preferable substitute to EU membership, but given the circumstances we face, this agreement holds together the integrity of the Single Market. We would like to thank Michel Barnier and his team for what they've done over the course of five years. This agreement should be a good one for the UK and the EU, if the UK government can respect its own signature.
"This agreement, in conjunction with the Withdrawal Agreement, is also about limiting the consequences of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement. The UK government needs be open and honest about the effects of Brexit for the people in Northern Ireland. Preserving peace in Northern Ireland must be at the heart of the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Withdrawal Agreement
"It is up to the Commission to see that social, fiscal and environmental dumping is prevented. The UK must not become a Singapore-on-Thames; the EU should ensure that access to the Single Market for financial services is conditional on commitments from the UK on tax cooperation and the fight against money laundering. Regardless of how the UK government is trying to move its people away from Europe; we must remember that we are in one boat, we are the same people and we will move forward together as a continent."
Ska Keller MEP, President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, comments:
"Brexit was never our choice, but throughout this process we have always argued for the closest possible relationship. Given the far reaching powers of this of this agreement, it is essential that the European Parliament is heavily involved in scrutinising its implementation. We have never had a Member State leave the EU before, which is why need proper and thorough scrutiny to ensure that this process goes smoothly. The Brexit process has been an exercise in understanding the limits of trust with our UK partners, we must use the vote on this agreement as a basis to build trust in the future.
"Data protection is non-negotiable in international trade agreements, that's why any exchange of personal data with the UK must be fully in-line with EU data protection standards. We have concerns that the law enforcement on data exchange provisions in this agreement do not fully meet EU standards and the UK's track record in this field does not inspire confidence.
"We must continue to fight for the rights of EU and UK citizens both sides of the Channel, whose lives are being turned upside down by Brexit. Today's vote should not be the end of our shared history, but that start of a new chapter that we hope will one day bring our British friends back to the European family. Until then we will continue to work together as friends, colleagues and partners."
The Commission has released a statement of commitments on the European Parliament's oversight of the implementation of the UK TCA, available here.