EP discusses progress in Brexit negotiations with Juncker and Barnier
The European Parliament (EP) held a three-hour debate on Brexit with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU chief negotiation Michel Barnier today.
EC President Juncker again highlighted the fact that the EC's negotiating mandate is to agree on the terms of the separation first, and then talk about the future. He appreciated UK Prime Minister May's speech in Florence, which he called "conciliatory", but added that the sufficient progress needed for the negotiations had not been made as yet, citing as an example that the negotiators had made good progress on citizens' rights, but that the indispensable role of the European Court of Justice in guaranteeing those rights still needed to be agreed. Mr. Juncker also welcomed the fact that the UK recognises that it has financial obligations which it must respect, but added that "The devil will be, as always, in the detail." He also highlighted the importance of fully respecting EU law and the Good Friday Agreement with regard to a solution for Ireland. Summing up, Mr. Juncker said that "Until now I cannot say that we are ready to enter the second phase of the negotiations".
MEPs agreed with Mr. Juncker that sufficient progress on the EU’s priority aims, a prerequisite for negotiating any transition period or future relationship between the EU and UK, has not been achieved yet. Therefore the government leaders of the EU 27 Member States should postpone their assessment of Brexit on 20 October, unless the fifth round of talks on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU delivers a major breakthrough. A corresponding resolution of the EP was passed by 557 votes to 92, with 29 abstentions.
Although the European Parliament welcomes the clarifications by UK Prime Minister May in her recent speech in Florence, MEPs expect the UK government to table, without delay, specific proposals to:
- safeguard the full set of rights that 4.5 million EU and UK citizens currently enjoy,
- honour the UK’s financial obligations to the EU in full,
- resolve the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland border issue, in full compliance with the Good Friday Agreement.
An additional condition for concluding the first phase of negotiations is a guarantee that EU law will be respected until the UK’s official withdrawal from the EU.
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