MS Risk Blog

MEPs Agree on Brexit Negotiation Plan

Posted on in Brexit, Uncategorized title_rule

Last week, the European Parliament backed a motion setting out its position for the Brexit negotiations. The vote backed the motion 516 to 133.

The motion effectively sets out general principles at the start of the two year negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) under the Article 50 Process. Speaking at a press conference on 5 April shortly after the vote, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, stated that the vote meant that “the UK on the one hand and the (European) Commission on the other hand now know the position of the Parliament, what the red lines are.” He went on to say that “the interests of our citizens is our first priority” and called for an early resolution on the status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens elsewhere in the EU.

The motion, which was supported by the two largest groups of MEPs, backs a number of positions that have been taken by EU leaders and which include the need for a “phased approach” to negotiations. This would effectively require progress on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal, including settling financial commitments, before talks on a future trading relationship can begin. It also backs the call for transparency in the talks, and for the UK to be considered liable for financial commitments that apply after it leaves the EU. It further states:

During the debate, Manfred Weber, chairman of the largest group of MEPs, the centre-right European People’s Party, stating that “cherry-picking will not happen. A state outside the European Union will not have better conditions than a state inside the European Union.” Gianna Pitella, chairman of the European Socialists and Democrats also agued that the UK “can not benefit from the same conditions as members do,” adding “if you leave the house, you still have to pay the bills.”

While the motion is not binding on European Commission officials, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs that “the role of this parliament is more important than ever. You must scrutinise and validate the final agreement.” He went on to say, “we will of course negotiate in friendship and openness and not in a hostile mood, with a country that has brought so much to our union and will remain close to hearts long after they have left, but this is now the time for reason over emotion,” adding, “what’s at stake here are the lives of millions of people. Millions have family or professional links to the United Kingdom.”

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