Brexit: tangible progress still needed on withdrawal terms
- not enough progress yet to start talks on future relationship
- PM May’s Florence commitments must translate into concrete proposals
- priority issues remain citizens’ rights, UK’s financial obligations and the Irish/Northern Irish border
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, MEPs say.
The government leaders of the EU 27 member states should postpone their assessment of Brexit on 20 October as “sufficient progress” has not been made on three key aims unless the fifth round of talks on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU delivers a major breakthrough, says a resolution passed by 557 votes to 92, with 29 abstentions, on Tuesday.
Although Parliament welcomes the clarifications by 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.
EP President, Antonio Tajani: “Mrs May’s Florence speech demonstrated that she is open to dialogue and understands what is at stake. I would urge her to convert goodwill into the concrete plans needed to truly take negotiations forward with the European Union. The vote on today's resolution confirmed the Parliament's unity in support of our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. The debate also showed a clear desire for constructive engagement with the United Kingdom, but equally, considerable concern with the delays encountered so far. I hope that the next few months will allow for sufficient progress to be achieved in order to fulfil the preconditions for starting discussions on our future relationship with the United Kingdom.”
Guy Verhofstadt, EP Brexit coordinator: “There has not been sufficient progress made. Especially with regard to citizen's rights, we are very worried. The proposal from our side to solve this is simple. Let EU citizens retain rights they enjoy now in the UK and let's do exactly the same for the UK citizens living on the continent. I even ask myself, why are we still discussing this? This could and should be concluded immediately.”
The motion, drafted by Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, was debated with European Commission President Juncker and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday 3 October.
Click on names to watch speakers’ individual statement
Jean- Claude Juncker
Manfred Weber (EPP, DE)
Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT)
Raffaele Fitto (ECR, IT)
Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE)
Martina Anderson (GUE/NLE, UK)
Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE)
Nigel Farage (EFDD, UK)
Janis Atkinson (ENF, UK)
The resolution sets out Parliament’s input to the 20 October EU27 summit in Brussels, when government leaders will assess progress in the Brexit negotiations. Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.