“Ratification of the agreement is not a vote of blind confidence in the UK Government’s intention to implement our agreements in good faith. Rather, it is an EU insurance policy against further unilateral deviations from what was jointly agreed.Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU), rapporteur for the Committee on International Trade
The Parliament of the European Union has now formally agreed to the trade deal with the UK.
Parliament voted on Tuesday 27th April 2021, with a large majority in favour of granting its consent to the agreement setting the rules of the future EU-UK relationship.
MEPs went on to condemn the UK’s recent unilateral actions that are in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement. Preserving peace on the island of Ireland is one of Parliament’s main goals in agreeing the future relationship. They called on the UK government “to act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements which it has signed”, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and apply them based on a timetable jointly set up with the European Commission.
On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators had agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation. To minimise disruption, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. Parliament’s consent is necessary for the agreement to enter into force permanently before its lapse on 30 April 2021.
Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT), rapporteur for the Committee on Foreign Affairs said:
“The EU and the UK have created the basis for a relationship among equals. Most importantly, today is a beginning, not the end. We agreed in many important areas, such as securing mutual market access and building a good relationship on trade. Much work remains on foreign policy and educational exchange programmes.
“For citizens’ interests to be represented, Parliament must be closely involved. Only a partnership in which both sides stick to their commitments has a future.”
MEPs were positive about the zero quotas and zero tariffs trade agreement but regretted that the UK did not want the agreement to extend to foreign, security and development policies and did not want to participate in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme.
Parliament agrees with provisions on, among others, fisheries, consumers, air traffic and energy.
The agreement will enter into force once Council has concluded it by 30 April.