Wednesday

16th Jan 2019

Britain can't pick and choose Brexit deal, MEPs say

  • Centre-right leader Manfred Weber (l) said, after meeting with Brexit minister David Davis (r), that Britain still doesn't know what Brexit means .

The European Parliament will not accept an EU-UK deal that hurts the free flow of people within the EU single market, parliamentary leaders clearly stated after meeting with British Brexit minister David Davis on Tuesday (23 November).

"It is impossible to find a solution that would destroy the so-called four freedoms," said Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the liberal group and the parliament's coordinator on Brexit.

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

"The freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and of people are the basic element of the European Union. We will certainly never accept whatever development where these four freedoms are put at risk," he told journalists.

Meanwhile, another MEP questioned whether the Brits had grasped this message.

"Today in my talks with Mr Davis I didn’t hear anything new, rather the contrary," said Manfred Weber, leader of the parliament’s largest political group, centre-right EPP.

He said that instead of presenting an exit strategy, the British government insisted on what it wanted to keep from the EU, particularly access to the single market and home affairs and justice cooperation.

"They still don't know what Brexit means," Weber said. "That means leaving the European Union, that means cutting off relations - not cherry-picking, not special relationships."

David Davis, for his part, said that Tuesday's meetings had been "a good start".

Asked if the British government aimed to stay in the single market after leaving the EU, he said: "What we are after is an outcome which will be in the interest of the European Union and in the interest of Britain and will meet the requirements of the referendum."

It was the first time that Davis met with the parliament’s leaders since Britain voted to leave the EU in June.

They are bound to meet more regularly in the future.

Verhofstadt said Britain must finalise its divorce from the European Union before the next elections to the European Parliament in 2019, even if that left very little time.

The UK government plans to launch the exit talks before the end of March 2017, although the timing could be delayed by a legal challenge in the UK, requiring Britain’s parliament to be consulted, which the government has appealed.

The European Parliament, which is not directly involved in the negotiations but must consent to the resulting Brexit agreement, would submit its requests on the EU negotiating mandate in late March or early April, Verhofstadt said.

If EU leaders issue a final mandate by late April or May, the European Commission would have its position ready by the end of 2017.

The current legislative mandate runs out in May 2019.

"That only leaves a 14-15 months window," Verhofstadt said, noting that the parliament would need a couple months after the negotiations are concluded to provide its consent.

"It will be hectic," he added.

May warns parliament not to block Brexit

After the HIgh Court ruled that Parliament needs to agree to triggering the exit talks, the British PM vowed not to let Brexit to be "sabotaged".

Brexit to hike British debt by €69bn

Britain’s decision to exit the EU is to prompt €69 billion of extra borrowing, a UK watchdog has said, leaving poorer families less well off.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Davis brings Brexit back to reality

Brexiteers will be shocked to hear the government is considering slaughtering the sacred cow, offering up contributions to the EU budget in exchange for market access.

News in Brief

  1. May's Brexit deal defeated by 230 votes
  2. German economy hit by global economic turbulence
  3. MEPs narrowly call for end to 'tampon tax'
  4. MEPs back spending €6bn on fusion energy research
  5. MEPs call for 'awareness campaign' on autonomous car benefits
  6. German glyphosate report 'copy-pasted' from industry
  7. Commission set to reveal controversial common tax plan
  8. Merkel plans major EU-China summit for 2020

Opinion

Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.

May on whistle-stop EU tour to seek new backstop pledges

The British prime minister dramatically delayed a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal at the last minute, as she faced defeat. Theresa May will now speed-tour EU capitals to try to secure further political guarantees.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  2. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025
  3. MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment
  4. Trump's wall vs Europe's sea
  5. Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret
  6. Germany scorns 'unusual' US threat on Russia pipeline
  7. UK parliament vote expected to prompt Brexit delay
  8. Pro-EU MEPs still see room for stopping Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us