Brexit to take centre stage in pre-summit debate at 9:00
MEPs will discuss progress in the Brexit talks with EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and chief negotiator Michel Barnier before putting forward a number of recommendations.
The debate ahead of the summit of the European Council of government leaders will focus on whether the Brexit talks have made “sufficient progress” - notably on citizens’ rights, the UK’s Northern Ireland border with the Irish Republic and the UK’s financial obligations - to enable the EU and the UK to move on to talks on what shape future relations between the EU and the UK should take.
Parliament’s Brexit Steering group (BSG), chaired by Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE), has tabled a draft resolution welcoming the joint progress report presented by EU and UK negotiators on 7 December and recommending that the EU 27 heads of state or government decide on 15 December that “sufficient progress” has indeed been made. Nevertheless, the Verhofstadt has also tabled two amendments stressing the need for negotiating in good faith following recent “comments like those by David Davis”. The resolution also notes that tough issues remain to be resolved before the withdrawal agreement can be finalised. The vote will take place at noon.
Parliament as a whole will have the final say on the outcome of negotiations when it votes to approve or reject the withdrawal deal, to be finalised by the end of March 2019.
You can watch the plenary debate via EP Live, and EbS+.
For the European Parliament to approve the withdrawal agreement, the key principles and conditions in the resolution of 5 April, 2017 must be met. These principles were reiterated in another resolution, on the state of play of negotiations, voted on 3 October 2017. Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.