EU surrender: Brussels backed into corner by MEPs’ threat to veto Brexit deal –leaked memo
Brexit may 'ignite true reform' in the EU says MEP
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The European Commission issued a new statement in order to convince MEPs to back the Brexit trade deal in a vote to complete its ratification and years of wrangling over the UK’s divorce. But a host of member states warned that this could trigger a new row with the UK after a number of recent flare-ups. In its statement, the Commission insists the EU will use its “guillotine clause” to terminate criminal law cooperation if the UK rows back from its pledge to remain a member of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also promised the European Parliament will continue to play a role in managing the cross-Channel future relationship and attempts to soften concerns over data privacy.
EU insiders told Express.co.uk that eurocrats were forced to draft the special declaration in order to win over MEPs and ensure they backed the Brexit deal.
Almost four months after the historic future relationship treaty was struck on Christmas Eve, MEPs backed down from their threat to veto the agreement and overwhelmingly backed it.
Some 660 endorsed the tariff and quota-free deal on goods, with just five, including members of the Greek Communist Party and a former Czech general, voted against it. There were 32 abstentions.
One EU diplomat said: “Member states, except for France, were not very happy having to add bells and whistles to this statement but grudgingly consented to ensure the TCA would pass.”
The insider added: “The main concern for member states is the timing of all of this, it was necessary to get ratification done but there is a genuine feeling that the air can be cleared so let’s not cloud over it again.”
Around 95 percent of what is contained in the statement is already written into the Trade and Cooperation agreement and should not come as a shock to Boris Johnson’s Government, sources say.
The statement sets out plans to terminate “law enforcement and judicial cooperation” under the trade and security deal if “the United Kingdom denounces the European Convention on Human Rights”.
It adds: “In the event that the United Kingdom no longer gives effect to the European Convention on Human Rights domestically, notably in such a way as to no longer allow the Convention to be effectively relied on by individuals before its domestic courts, the Union will suspend Part Three.”
The leaked document also contains reference to the EU Parliament’s demands for a bigger say in over the future relationship with Britain is managed.
But member states hit back: “The recent statement of the Commission fails to respect the institutional balance set by the Treaties. On one had, the statement places the European Parliament on an equal footing with the Council in situation when there is not foreseen under the Treaties…
“The Council therefore expects that the Commission, as guardian of the application of the Treaties, will ensure that in the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the institutional balance set by the Treaties in relation to international agreements is at all times fully respected.”
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Stubborn MEPs had previously refused to rubber-stamp the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in the row over customs controls between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.
They repeatedly snubbed setting a date for a final vote in the European Parliament despite the agreement having sailed through the UK Parliament in December.
In a final moment of sabre-rattling, MEPs also backed a resolution on the trade agreement branding Brexit a “historic mistake”.
The non-binding resolution adds: “It is a logical consequence of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and in particular the ending of freedom of movement, that the opportunities for the UK’s largely service-based economy are vastly reduced.”
It also called for the European Commission to pursue legal action against Britain over alleged breaches of the Northern Ireland Protocol “with vigour”.
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I warmly welcome the European Parliament’s vote in favour of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“The TCA marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK – faithful implementation is essential.”
Michel Barnier, her former chief negotiator, added: “Big green light from the European Parliament for the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement!
“It is the EU and UK’s joint responsibility now to ensure that their respective commitments are respected – today and in the future.”
European Council President Charles Michel said the vote was a “major step forward” in UK-EU relations.
He added: “The EU will continue to work constructively with the UK as an important friend and partner.”
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