Friday

23rd Aug 2019

MEPs draw 'red lines' on Brexit deal

  • European Parliament chief negotiator Verhofstadt (r) among his fellow MEPs (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs will stress that the UK and EU members have no right to conclude separate deals during Brexit talks, according to a draft resolution seen by EUobserver.

The text, expected to be adopted next week during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg, will set out the institution's position on the Brexit negotiations, which will start soon after the UK's notification on Wednesday (29 March) of its intention to leave the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

European Parliament sources said that the resolution will mainly say what the procedure should be and what the MEPs' political priorities are in regard to the talks.

It is also to remind the UK that the Brexit talks can only succeed if it shows "fair behaviour" while the negotiations are still ongoing, sources said.

"Unilateral decisions by the UK will be contrary to the Treaties and illegal," the parliament's president, Antonio Tajani, said on Wednesday, recalling that the UK is still a member of the EU for the next two years, and needs to respect the rights of EU citizens.

The resolution insists that the EU-27 have to work together, and warns that "any bilateral arrangement between one or several remaining member states and the United Kingdom, that has not been agreed by the EU-27 ... would be in contradiction with the Treaties".

"The unity of [the] 27 is vital," Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt told journalists. A former Belgian prime minister, Verhofstadt is the parliament's point man in the negotiations.

Invoking Article 50 is "an unprecedented and regrettable event as a member state has never left the European Union before", the draft resolution says.

It points out a set of issues that should be of paramount importance – the rights of citizens, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the Union's external borders, as well as legal certainty for businesses.

The parliament "requires the fair treatment of EU-27 citizens living or having lived in the United Kingdom and the UK citizens living or having lived in the EU-27, and is of the opinion that their respective interests must be given full priority in the negotiations", according to the draft text.

Parliament consent needed

The parliament will not participate directly in the negotiations, and the resolution is legally non-binding, but its consent will be needed on the final deal. That gives it an important power, as MEPs could scrap the entire deal if their demands are not met.

After UK prime minister Theresa May hinted that security cooperation with Europe could be jeopardised if the UK does not get a deal, Verhofstadt told journalists on Wednesday that "security is far too important to start bargaining it against an economic agreement".

In their resolution, MEPs stress that "whatever the outcome of the negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship, they cannot involve any trade-off between internal and external security including defence cooperation, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand."

They also propose that any possible transitional arrangement, which would follow the 2-year negotiation, should last for three years. They say that they will adopt more resolutions on specific issues once the negotiations kick off.

No bilateral agreements

The draft text makes it clear that the UK "must honour all its legal, financial and budgetary obligations". But the "UK will not be asked to pay what they have not previously agreed to," Tajani said.

The draft resolution also stresses that any access to the European single market would require participation in the EU budget, as well as the acceptance of the EU's "four freedoms": the free movement of people, services, goods and capital.

Theresa May has, for now, ruled out the possibility of participating in the single market, but MEPs believe that a U-turn on this issue is possible.

Since the UK also aims to start free trade talks with non-EU countries as soon as possible, the draft resolution emphasises that the UK cannot negotiate any trade deals with third countries while still in the EU.

The draft resolution has so far been supported by the centre-right European People's Party, the Socialists and Democrats group, the Liberals, and the Greens.

'Unhappy' day as UK delivers Brexit letter

European Council chief Donald Tusk said that "damage control" starts for the EU, as British PM Theresa May has invoked Article 50 nine months after the UK voted to leave the bloc.

UK launches first exit in EU history

European Council president Donald Tusk will be handed the Article 50 letter written by British PM Theresa May around 1.30pm. A "historic mistake", said the leader of the EU parliament's main group.

MEPs endorse EP red lines on Brexit

Juncker said the EU is looking for success with the UK during talks, as the European Parliament outlines its position on citizens, borders, and the bill that will have to be settled before London can move on to future discussions.

Transparency is key EU tactic in Brexit talks

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said his mandate and all EU commission working documents will be made public during the negotiations. Tactic or policy shift? This time, the EU is interested in transparency.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Opinion

Brexit vs Grexit: The six stages of losing to the EU

Theresa May's venture seems very similar to the attempt by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 to persuade Brussels to accept his terms for the bail out - a huge negotiation failure, presented to the public as the best possible deal.

Opinion

How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament

British plans to - maybe - take part in EU elections risk legal chaos in the next European Parliament, which could be resolved only by treaty change - an unlikely prospect.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us