Procedure : 2020/0382(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0128/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0128/2021

Debates :

PV 27/04/2021 - 4
PV 27/04/2021 - 6
CRE 27/04/2021 - 4
CRE 27/04/2021 - 6

Votes :

PV 28/04/2021 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0140

<Date>{22/04/2021}22.4.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0128/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 396kWORD 142k

<TitreType>RECOMMENDATION</TitreType>     <RefProcLect>***</RefProcLect>

<Titre>on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre>

<DocRef>(05022/2021 – C9‑0086/2021 – 2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>


<Commission>{CJ38}Committee on Foreign Affairs
Committee on International Trade</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Andreas Schieder, Christophe Hansen</Depute>

(Joint committee procedure - Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure)

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETARY CONTROL
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND TOURISM
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
 LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEES RESPONSIBLE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information

(05022/2021 – C9‑0086/2021 – 2020/0382(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the draft Council decision (05022/2021),

 having regard to the draft Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (5198/2021),

 having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information (5203/2021),

 having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph and Article 218(8), second subparagraph of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0086 /2021),

 having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2020 on the proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,[1]

 having regard to its recommendation of 18 June 2020 on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,[2]

 having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade under Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the letters of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Committee on Development, Committee on Budgetary Control, Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, Committee on Transport and Tourism, Committee on Regional Development, Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Committee on Fisheries, Committee on Culture and Education, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

 having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade (A9-0128/2021),

1. Gives its consent to the conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information;

2. Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the United Kingdom.


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

 

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the EU/Euratom/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the EU/UK Agreement concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

 

Dear Mr McAllister, dear Mr Lange,

At their meeting of 11 January 2021, the Coordinators of the Committee on Legal Affairs decided to give an opinion in the form of a letter, in accordance with Rule 56(1) of the Rules of Procedure, on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part[3], and the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information[4] (hereafter ‘the Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ and ‘the Security of Information Agreement’), with a focus on the competences of our committee. As per the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 24 October 2019, I was appointed rapporteur for the opinion in my capacity as Chair of the Committee on 11 January 2021.

SUGGESTIONS

The recommendation:

 

At its meeting of 27 January 2021 the Committee on Legal Affairs accordingly decided, by 24 votes in favour, 1 vote against and no abstentions[5], to recommend to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to give consent to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and to the Security of Information Agreement.

 

The recommendation is given with due regard by the Committee on Legal Affairs to: the European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2020 on the proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[6]; the Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/266 of 25 February 2020 authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a new partnership[7], and the annex thereto; the European Parliament recommendation of 18 June 2020 on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[8]; the Agreement of 24 January 2020 on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (the Withdrawal Agreement)[9] and the political declaration of 17 October 2019 setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom (the Political Declaration)[10]; Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252 of 29 December 2020 on the signing, on behalf of the Union, and on provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information[11]; and the text of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, in particular Part I on common and institutional provisions, the provisions of Part II, Title I on trade in goods, Title III on digital trade, Title V on intellectual property and Title XI on the level playing field for open and fair competition and sustainable development, Part VI on dispute settlement and horizontal provisions, and Part VII on final provisions; and the text of the Security of Information Agreement.

 

On behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs, I would like to draw the attention of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade to the following elements, which are to be considered as essential for the purpose of consent:

 

Institutional and horizontal aspects

 

1. Welcomes the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and acknowledges that it will have far-reaching constitutional and legal implications for both the UK and the EU, and a significant impact on the lives of citizens and on businesses in the UK and the EU; is thus pleased with the continued commitment established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement for the two parties to uphold the values and principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, which underpin their domestic and international policies, and the general rules on human rights conditionality, allowing for the termination or suspension of the agreement in full or in part on human rights grounds;

2. Is also pleased that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is consistent with the mandate and the terms of the Political Declaration in providing one single overarching institutional framework on all economic and security cooperation aspects, including fisheries and the level playing field, which applies to the entire partnership, including future supplementing agreements; notes in this regard that in addition to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, there has so far been one-linked up agreement on security of information, as well as one full stand-alone agreement on nuclear cooperation;

3. Welcomes the dispute settlement mechanism for the overall economic partnership set up under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the basis of public international law, consisting of political consultations, arbitration procedures and suspension and cross-retaliation possibilities, but considers that the key definitions of materiality, significant impact and burden of proof should be clarified in order to ensure that the mechanism works well in practice; emphasises, moreover, that this mechanism should ensure full effect and autonomy of EU law, especially in relation to Member State law and international law, by not constituting a judicial review of the acts of the EU or its Court of Justice[12]; also welcomes, in this regard, the materialisation of the possibility established in Article 178(2)(b) of the Withdrawal Agreement to retaliate or cross-suspend future agreements in part of in full, namely the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in the event of a breach of the Withdrawal Agreement, without the need to first resort to lengthy consultation procedures (Article INST.10);

4. Is of the opinion that in view of the flexible governance system established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, of the composition and broad powers entrusted to the Partnership Council, of the plethora of specialised committees, and of the five-year review of implementation cycles, it is of utmost importance that the European Parliament be actively involved in the decision-making process, the assessment of the implementation and the next steps, including the review process, in order to ensure full transparency and democratic legitimacy in the application of the agreement and in any future negotiations; welcomes therefore, the Commission’s commitment to duly respect Parliament’s right to be immediately and fully informed at all stages of international agreements established in Article 218(10) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in line with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making[13] and on the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission[14]; also welcomes the Commission’s commitment to always brief and debrief Parliament before and after the meetings of the Partnership Council and of the specialised committees and to share all documents of these joint bodies at the same time it shares them with the Council, including draft agendas, proposals for Council decisions establishing the Union position, etc.; warmly welcomes the creation of domestic advisory groups and a civil society forum and underlines the importance of the possibility to set up a parliamentary partnership assembly, with members drawn from the European and UK parliaments, which would have to be kept informed of the Partnership Council’s work and would be able to make recommendations to it, to ensure democratic scrutiny of the decisions of the joint bodies;

5. Is pleased with the establishment of an obligation for the UK to respect the Paris Agreement adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at its 21st session (the ‘Paris Agreement’) and refrain from acts or omissions that would materially defeat the object and purpose of the Paris Agreement (Article COMPROV.5), and the ensuing possibility for the EU to terminate or suspend the Trade and Cooperation Agreement or any supplementing agreement in whole or in part in the event that the UK commits an act or omission which materially defeats the object and purpose of the Paris Agreement (Article INST.35);

6. Takes note of the lack of a fully fledged solution for data protection in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and further takes note of the Commission’s announcement of the launch of the process for the assessment of the adequacy of the data protection regime of the United Kingdom under the General Data Protection Regulation[15] and the Law Enforcement Directive[16] so as to deliver the legal certainty that individuals, companies and public authorities legitimately need; also emphasises in this regard that the role of businesses in exchanging non-personal data should be seen as an indispensable aspect of the partnership, while making a clear distinction between that and the legal regime applicable to personal data protection; underlines that transfers of personal data to third countries always need to comply with Chapter V of the General Data Protection Regulation or Chapter V of the Law Enforcement Directive; recalls that in order to declare the adequacy of the UK data protection framework, the Commission must demonstrate that the UK provides a level of protection ‘essentially equivalent’ to that offered by the EU legal framework, including on onward transfers to third countries and rules on access to personal data for the purposes of national security; insists that should the UK data protection legal framework not qualify for an adequacy decision, then full use should be made of the alternative legal mechanisms provided in Union data protection law on international transfers;

7. Recommends, as the committee responsible for the interpretation and application of international law, in so far as the European Union is affected, that Parliament must be able to give its consent to any future act having legal effects, proposed by the bodies set up by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in this respect, unless the act would only change non-essential elements of the agreement;

 

Intellectual Property

 

8. Highlights the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the need to ensure regulatory continuity for both EU rights-holders and beneficiaries of limitations and exceptions in the UK; welcomes in this regard the enhanced IP rights protections established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which cover all types of IP rights, including copyright and related rights –  as well as artists’ resale rights and cooperation between collective management organisations –  trademarks and registered and unregistered designs, patents – including supplementary protection certificates – and trade secrets and plant varieties; also welcomes the establishment of enforcement and cooperation provisions in the agreement, covering a wide range of measures such as civil and administrative enforcement, trade secret civil judicial and remedial procedures, border measures, advanced rules on specific customs procedures and cooperation possibilities for customs, police, administrative and judicial bodies;

9. Deeply regrets, however, that future geographical indications, designations of origin or traditional specialities have been left outside the scope of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, despite the explicit reference to this aspect in the Political Declaration, and that as a result, no mechanism on the recognition of EU geographical indications in the UK has been established; invites, therefore, the two parties to continue discussions as soon as possible on this aspect with a view to finding appropriate arrangements that would build on the protection of existing geographical indications contained in the Withdrawal Agreement;

 

Company Law

 

10. Deeply regrets that the parties’ existing company types, such as the Societas Europaea (SE) or limited companies, are not part of the agreement and thus will no longer be accepted by the respective opposite party; takes note of the parties’ aim to provide a predictable regulatory environment and efficient procedures for economic operators, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, in order to establish common minimum standards securing trade practices and guaranteeing fair competition, but would have preferred a concrete understanding; is nevertheless pleased that the parties, while protecting economic operators, took into account the need to ensure a sustainable and competitive development climate by committing to non-regression in terms of labour and social standards and by agreeing on provisions on forbidden practices, enforcement and cooperation when it comes to competition policy;

 

Civil justice cooperation, including in family matters

 

11. Also regrets that judicial cooperation in civil matters was not part of the negotiations for the future partnership between the EU and the UK and is thus not covered by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement; recalls, in this regard, that this area of law is of paramount importance in ensuring legal certainty in the future trade and business relations between citizens and companies in terms of cross-border transactions; emphasises, therefore, the need to reach a joint understanding in the field of civil jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments as soon as possible to provide certainty and sufficient protection of parties in cross-border transactions and other activities; welcomes, in this regard, the UK’s redepositing of its instrument of accession to the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements on 28 September 2020, but notes that the Hague regime is more limited in its application and scope than the Brussels I (recast) regime in that it only applies to exclusive jurisdiction clauses entered into after the convention came into force in the country chosen for the court clause; also welcomes the UK’s application of 8 April 2020 to remain a party to the 2007 Lugano Convention once the transition period ended as it provides a broadly equivalent regime to the Brussels Regulation (before it was ‘recast’); recalls, however, that the EU should consider very carefully its decision on this matter, especially in view of Protocol II of the said convention on its uniform interpretation and of the possibility to maintain an overall balance of its relationships with third countries and international organisations; believes that this should notably imply an effective collaboration and dialogue between the European Commission and the European Parliament, particularly with the Committee on Legal Affairs, which is in charge of the interpretation and application of international law, in so far as the European Union is affected;

12. Also deeply regrets that a detailed and meaningful solution with regard to matrimonial, parental responsibility and other family matters has not been established by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement; reiterates, in this regard, that this was, from the beginning of the negotiations, Parliament’s negotiating guideline; welcomes in this regard the UK’s accession to the HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law) Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance on 28 September 2020, which will ensure continuity in the application of this convention after the transition period ends; also welcomes the possibilities for enhanced cooperation, at least in key family law issues, that can be offered via the participation of the UK as an observer to the meetings of the European Judicial Network on civil and commercial matters and on matters of practical cooperation in the areas of parental responsibility, child abduction and maintenance obligations.

 

I trust that the above will make a useful contribution into the report drafted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

Adrián Vázquez Lázara


 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: Opinion on Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information 2020/0382(NLE))

 

Dear Mr McAllister, dear Mr Lange,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Development has been asked to submit an opinion to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade. At its meeting of 27 January 2021, the Committee on Development decided to send the opinion in the form of a letter.

The Committee on Development, in the same meeting, decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their motion for a resolution[17].

Yours sincerely,

Tomas Tobé

SUGGESTIONS

1. Notes the importance of the UK as a development and humanitarian aid actor, owing to the scale of its official development assistance (even with the cut from 0.7 to 0.5 % of GNI), its expertise, project implementation capacities and comprehensive relations with the Commonwealth and other developing countries; encourages the UK to help minimise negative impacts of Brexit on developing countries and to sustain its commitment to being at the forefront of development assistance and humanitarian aid; calls for close EU-UK donor coordination and cooperation, including the possibility to draw on each other’s capacities so as to maximise efficiency, development effectiveness and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETARY CONTROL

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Mr McAllister, dear Mr Lange,

The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) decided to submit an opinion in the form of a letter on the above-mentioned subject.

The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as lead committees, to take into account the following considerations and recommendations in the preparation of the European Parliament’s decision on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

On behalf of the CONT Committee, I would be very grateful if you could ensure that the Parliament’s decision takes account of the CONT’s position and considerations on the above points.

Yours sincerely,

Monika Hohlmeier

 

SUGGESTIONS

A. having regard to its opinion of 11 May 2020 on the recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2020/2023(INI)),

B. having regard to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part,

General remarks

1. Welcomes the conclusion on 24 December 2020 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information;

2. Expresses its appreciation of the work carried out by Mr Michel Barnier as Head of the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, as well as the entire Task Force, and for the way the negotiations were conducted on the EU-side;

3. Notes that the transition period defined by the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK ended on 31 December 2020; notes with satisfaction that the Agreement ensured that the disruptive effects for the flow of goods was reduced compared to a situation without an agreement; at the same time underlines that the end of transition period has, nevertheless, led to the reintroduction of border controls, and new bureaucratic procedures, which has had serious effects for economic operators; welcomes that the Agreement preserves the integrity of the single market;

4. Notes that agreement has been reached about the UK continuing to participate, in accordance with the basic acts, in Horizon Europe (excluding the European Innovation Council Fund); the Euratom research and training programme; the Copernicus component of the Space Programme; and ITER (the nuclear fusion project). The UK will also have access to Space Surveillance and Tracking services under the Space Programme;

5. Notes that the UK will make an annual financial contribution in the form of an operational contribution, which will be based on a financing key defined as the ratio of UK GDP at market prices to the GDP of the Union at market prices which can be adjusted retrospectively under certain conditions and that an automatic correction mechanism applies to Horizon Europe; welcomes the introduction of the new participation fee, which is set at 4 % of the annual operational contribution with a phasing in period and is not, in general, subject to retrospective adjustments;

6. Points out that the Parliament should be actively involved in the future development of the Agreement, including through participation in the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly and through close scrutiny and involvement relative to the Commission’s participation in the Partnership Council and the high number of Specialised Committees for the future governing of the agreement; the CONT Committee should be quickly and actively informed and involved in developments relating to its fields of competence;

Protection of the Unions Financial interests

7. Underlines, the importance of ensuring the protection of the Union’s Financial Interests in all dimensions and that the UK respects their financial obligations under the Agreement to the full;

8. Welcomes that the Agreement ensures the protection of the EU’s financial interests making the relevant EU legal framework applicable including preventive measures against corruption, fraud and any other illegal activities, effective checks and audits, and where irregularities are detected, ensures the recoveries of the amounts paid as well as effective and proportionate administrative sanctions and penalties;

9. Underlines the need to ensure that the implementation of the Agreement and, in line with the provisions of close cooperation between the parties, the right of access of Commission services, the European Court of Auditors, OLAF and EPPO as well as the right of scrutiny of the European Parliament are fully respected; furthermore stresses the importance of the competence of the ECJ in relation to decisions by the Commission;

10. Insist on a powerful EU delegation in the UK, in conformity with the Treaty on European Union, to ease administrative cooperation and exchange of information;

11. Welcomes that the Agreement includes a Protocol on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax and on mutual assistance for the recovery of claims and relating to taxes and duties; in this connection underlines the need for strong cooperation in the areas of VAT and customs duties in order to ensure proper collection and the recovery of claims;

12. Highlights that customs procedures are highly complex and that there is a continuous need for ensuring swift exchange of information and strong cooperation between the EU and the UK in order to ensure efficient controls and clearing, and enforcement of relevant legislation;

13. Stresses at the same time the need to avoid customs and VAT fraud including trafficking (smuggling) through adequate controls taking into account the likelihood of specific goods being subject to trafficking or wrongful declaration of origin or content.


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

 

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)08562020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Mr McAllister, dear Mr Lange,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON Committee) has been asked to submit an opinion to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to the Committee on International Trade. Due to the urgency of the matter, the ECON coordinators decided by written procedure to send the opinion in the form of a letter.

The ECON Committee considered the matter at its meeting of 1 February 2021. At that meeting, it decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their motion for a resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Irene Tinagli

 

SUGGESTIONS

General principles

 

1. Notes that the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (the Agreement) remains a work in progress;

2. Notes the particular difficulties caused to the all-Ireland economy by the restriction of free movement of non-Irish EU nationals and of services on the island of Ireland;

3. Calls on the Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Supervisory Authorities, the European Systemic Risk Board and the Single Resolution Board to closely monitor the implementation of the Agreement and market developments in financial services in order to identify potential market disruptions and threats to financial stability, market integrity and investor protection in a timely manner;

4. Calls on the Commission to present the findings of this monitoring exercise to the ECON Committee, also in view of the reviews provided for in the Agreement;

 

 

Market access

 

5. Notes that the Agreement does not provide for comprehensive market access in relation to financial services and that passporting rights between the EU and the UK ceased to apply when the transition period ended; notes that financial market access is now based on EU and national law including, where applicable, the equivalence framework;

6. Notes that the EU equivalence framework is enshrined in various sectoral financial service regulations and directives and that equivalence decisions are unilateral and should be adopted through delegated acts;

7. Underlines that equivalence assessments have to be forward-looking, i.e. they have to foster a sufficient degree of regulatory alignment with the regulatory framework of the single market, thereby providing a safeguard for the integrity of the single market for financial services and robust guarantees for investor protection;

8. Stresses the need for continuous monitoring of any possible digression of UK rules from EU standards with a view to avoiding undue competitive advantages and regulatory arbitrage based on regulatory divergence for UK-based undertakings and ensuring a level playing field;

9. Recalls that the EU can unilaterally withdraw any equivalence decision at any time if the conditions for granting the equivalent status are no longer fulfilled;

10. Notes that the joint declaration on regulatory cooperation between the EU and the UK in relation to financial services states that an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to be made by March 2021;

11. Is of the opinion that the agreement on the MoU should include specific cooperation arrangements with the aim of fostering regulatory alignment and ensuring that potential changes in the UK legal framework and its implementation are communicated in a timely manner to the EU supervisory authorities;

12. Emphasises that any such framework for future regulatory cooperation on financial services should be underpinned by robust commitments aimed at preventing tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance and money laundering;

13. Calls on the Commission to ensure transparency in the negotiations on the MoU and to regularly involve the ECON Committee in them, at the same level as it involves the Council;

14. Calls on the Commission to reflect if and under what conditions the future framework for regulatory cooperation on financial services could strategically integrate the objectives to cooperate in tax matters and fight money laundering into the EU equivalence framework;

 

Capital Markets Union

 

15. Points out that the withdrawal of the UK creates new momentum for the regulation of capital markets and makes the safe and ambitious regulation of capital markets in the EU-27 more urgent, in order to ensure stable, well-diversified and cost-efficient financing of the EU economy;

16. Calls on the Commission to adopt a legislative proposal amending existing financial services legislation (‘the Omnibus Regulation’) with a view to adapting it to the new situation in which the UK has left the internal market and thus where all references to specific UK circumstances have become inappropriate;

17. Reiterates its position that in the event of concerns about financial stability, market integrity or consumer and investor protection, EU supervisors should be granted direct and enhanced supervisory powers over certain third-country entities recognised under the EU equivalence framework;

 

Tax matters

 

18. Notes that in the area of taxation, both parties committed to the implementation of principles of good governance, including international standards on tax transparency, exchange of information and fair tax competition;

19. Recalls that a coordinated fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance remains a priority and is a prerequisite for ensuring a level playing field;

20. Regrets the absence of tax measures in any dispute resolution mechanism or rebalancing mechanism, including a non-regression clause in corporate taxation, and fears the impact of differing legislation concerning corporate income taxation and tax transparency on tax avoidance;

21. Recalls that any third country having strong economic ties with the EU is screened by the Council as part of the EU listing process identifying non-cooperative tax jurisdictions for tax purposes; therefore demands that the Council promptly adds the UK to the list of regularly assessed countries to ensure the commitments of the joint political declaration[18] on countering harmful tax regimes are respected;

22. Urges the Member States to rigorously use the anti-tax avoidance tools at their disposal, in particular controlled foreign corporation rules, to protect their tax revenues, taking into account the fact that the United Kingdom is now a third country;

23. Invites the EU to integrate robust commitments preventing tax evasion and tax avoidance, and aggressive tax planning, including tax and financial transparency in relevant areas, especially with regard to different tax jurisdictions found within the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, in order to ensure a level playing field;

 

Anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing

 

24. Notes the measures to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing, in particular on information exchange and beneficial ownership;

25. Notes that both parties committed to maintain a comprehensive regime to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and to regularly review the need to enhance that regime, taking into account the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force;

26. Regrets that possible violations of this commitment are not subject to the arbitration procedure provided for in the Agreement;

27. Regrets that the anti-money-laundering rules are not covered by the rebalancing rules, which allow for the alignment of evolving standards;

28. Calls for a thorough assessment of the United Kingdom, including by continuing the assessment of its overseas territories and Crown dependencies, according to the criteria of the EU list of high-risk third countries;

29. Calls on the Commission to use the tools available, to consider new tools in the upcoming revision of the anti-money-laundering framework and to ensure sincere cooperation in relation to beneficial ownership transparency, to guarantee a level playing field and to protect the single market from money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from the UK;

 

Competition

 

30. Notes that fair competition builds on a level playing field; calls on the Commission to ensure fair competition between the EU and the UK in order to safeguard the level playing field and avoid dumping in the future[19];

31. Calls the Commission to focus in particular on State aid schemes involving free zones, economic zones and tax rulings in the broad sense, including informal agreements.

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

47

+

ECR

Raffaele Fitto

PPE

Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Stefan Berger, Markus Ferber, Frances Fitzgerald, Enikő Győri, Danuta Maria Hübner, Georgios Kyrtsos, Aušra Maldeikienė, Eva Maydell, Siegfried Mureşan, Luděk Niedermayer, Lídia Pereira, Jessica Polfjärd, Ralf Seekatz, Inese Vaidere

Renew

Gilles Boyer, Engin Eroglu, Luis Garicano, Billy Kelleher, Ondřej Kovařík, Caroline Nagtegaal, Dragoș Pîslaru, Stéphanie Yon-Courtin

S&D

Marek Belka, Jonás Fernández, Eero Heinäluoma, Aurore Lalucq, Pedro Marques, Costas Mavrides, Csaba Molnár, Evelyn Regner, Alfred Sant, Joachim Schuster, Pedro Silva Pereira, Paul Tang, Irene Tinagli

The Left

José Gusmão, Chris MacManus, Dimitrios Papadimoulis

Verts/ALE

Sven Giegold, Claude Gruffat, Stasys Jakeliūnas, Piernicola Pedicini, Mikuláš Peksa, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Ernest Urtasun

 

4

-

ID

Gerolf Annemans, Gunnar Beck, Jörg Meuthen

NI

Lefteris Nikolaou‑Alavanos

 

8

0

ECR

Derk Jan Eppink, Cristian Terheş, Johan Van Overtveldt, Roberts Zīle

ID

Francesca Donato, Valentino Grant, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Marco Zanni

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 


 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

15E201

BRUSSELS

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

12G301

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>EMPL recommendations on the Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs has decided to submit an opinion to your committees in the form of a letter.

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs considered the matter at its meeting of 1 February 2021. At that meeting, it decided to convey its opinion to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible.

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová

 

SUGGESTIONS

A. whereas the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (‘UK’) from the European Union (‘EU’) and the European Atomic Energy Community affects millions of citizens – both UK citizens living, travelling or working in the Union and Union citizens living, travelling or working in the UK, as well as people other than Union and UK citizens;

B. whereas third countries, which are not subject to the same obligations as Member States, cannot have the same rights or enjoy the same benefits as a Member State; whereas, on the other hand, it is in the EU’s and the UK’s mutual interests to pursue an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced relationship through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and other possible agreements;

C. whereas, since 2008, the EU has included provisions on labour standards in the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters of its trade agreements with third countries;

D. whereas the Political Declaration that accompanied the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) from the European Union (EU) and the European Atomic Energy Community of 19 October 2019 and the Protocol on Northern Ireland (‘the Withdrawal Agreement’) set out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK by establishing the parameters of an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation with a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at its core;

E. whereas Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement provides that the EU and the UK are to use their best endeavours, in good faith and in full respect of their respective legal orders, to take the necessary steps to negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship referred to in the Political Declaration and to conduct the relevant procedures for the ratification and conclusion of those agreements, with a view to ensuring that those agreements apply, to the extent possible, as from the end of the transition period;

F. whereas the European Council adopted its negotiating guidelines with a view to the opening of negotiations on the overall understanding of the framework for the future relationship that was to be elaborated in the Political Declaration;

G. whereas, given the geographic proximity and economic interdependence and connectedness of the EU and the UK (the Parties), as well as the large number of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, the partnership between the EU and the UK should be comprehensive, encompassing an FTA as well as wider sectoral cooperation where this is in the Union’s interests;

H. whereas this partnership should, in particular, aim to establish an FTA that ensures no tariffs, no quotas and no dumping, including as regards social and employment standards, through robust commitments;

I. whereas these commitments should prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages so as to ensure a sustainable and long-lasting relationship between the Parties; whereas the partnership should therefore be based on high standards and a balance of rights and obligations which will ensure the indivisibility of the four freedoms and guarantee a level playing field that will stand the test of time;

J. whereas, to that end, the partnership should uphold common high social and employment standards and correspondingly high standards developed over time, with EU social and employment standards and rights as a reference point;

K. whereas the partnership should commit the Parties to an ongoing improvement of their respective levels of protection, with the goal of ensuring correspondingly high social and labour standards in order to maintain a level playing field;

L. whereas in light of the level playing field committed to in the Political Declaration, the partnership should, in particular, ensure that the level of labour and social protection provided by laws, regulations and practices is not reduced to below the level provided by the common standards applicable within the EU and the UK at the end of the transition period in at least the following areas: fundamental rights at work; occupational health and safety, including the precautionary principle; fair working conditions and employment standards; information, consultation and rights at company level, and restructuring; whereas the partnership should also protect and promote social dialogue among workers and employers, their respective organisations and governments, and should encourage dialogue with civil society;

M. whereas in this regard the principle of non-regression of the current and future levels of labour and social protection is essential; whereas under Articles 6.1 and 6.2 of the TCA neither Party is allowed to lower labour and social standards applicable at the end of the transition period in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties;

N. whereas the partnership should ensure the effective enforcement of the UK’s commitments and of its laws, regulations and practices that reflect those commitments, through adequately resourced domestic authorities, an effective system of labour inspections and effective administrative and judicial proceedings;

O. whereas mobility arrangements should be based on non-discrimination between the Member States and full reciprocity; whereas the partnership must also provide for extensive and profound social security coordination;

P. whereas the partnership should include appropriate arrangements for dispute settlement and enforcement, and should in particular establish a governing body responsible for managing and supervising the implementation and operation of the partnership, facilitating the resolution of disputes; whereas it is important that the social partners are, where appropriate, involved in the dispute settlement process;

Q. whereas the European Parliament has insisted throughout the negotiations that the Court of Justice of the European Union should remain the sole arbiter of Union law;

R. whereas before adopting the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, the UK Government deleted clauses which would have provided some limited domestic legal protection for EU-derived workers’ rights, and committed itself to re-introducing these provisions in a forthcoming Employment Bill; whereas this Bill has not yet been introduced;

General comments

1. Welcomes the EU and UK negotiators’ intense and successful efforts to reach a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the Parties, thus preventing the disastrous consequences of a no-deal scenario for millions of citizens and businesses; deplores the fact that the last-minute nature of the agreement did not allow for proper parliamentary scrutiny before the end of the transition period, and strongly regrets once again that the UK Government did not to allow for a smoother transition through extension of the deadline to reach an agreement; regrets that the last-minute nature of the deal has had an immediate and negative impact on citizens and businesses who have to cope with, and adapt to, new rules affecting their livelihoods and day-to-day life;

2. Recalls the unique nature of the TCA which, while similar to other free trade agreements in that it sets out the conditions under which products conforming to different regulations can be accepted and sets up mechanisms to harmonise these regulations and to encourage convergent approaches to future regulation, also has to address the loss of long-standing established rights, such as the right to free movement, and of social security coordination; recalls that, unlike other trade agreements, the Parties are starting off with extensively harmonised regulatory frameworks, common rights and deeply integrated markets, and the TCA aims to control the way in which these may diverge in the future and to limit the impact on citizens, society and the economy resulting from that divergence;

3. Welcomes the fact that, despite some shortcomings in the TCA, the European Parliament’s priority of safeguarding citizens’ rights has in most cases been achieved, but regrets that the free movement of persons between the EU and the UK ended on 1 January 2021, that all movement is now subject to EU and UK immigration legislation applicable to third-country nationals, and that citizens’ rights and protection deriving from social security coordination will be reduced; recalls, however, that persons who were or had already been in a cross-border situation between the EU and the UK before 1 January 2021 are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement, which allows for their continued right to remain or work, ensures non-discrimination and protects their social security rights; notes that it is possible for certain types of travel, including short-term business trips and visits for other purposes (such as intra-company transfers of up to three years’ duration), to remain visa-free;

4. Regrets that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will not be the jurisdiction interpreting any principle included in the TCA that derives from Union law, and that CJEU case-law may be deviated from in the future by the UK supreme and appellate courts;

5. Stresses that access to justice is essential for the implementation and enforcement of citizens’ rights; recalls the direct immediate impact of the TCA on citizens’ rights, especially for those EU citizens residing or living in the UK and UK citizens residing or living in the EU; calls on both Parties to the TCA to provide citizens with access to justice and legal protection as regards their rights before UK and EU courts;

6. Regrets the fact that the UK Government has not yet fulfilled its commitment regarding a new Employment Bill; recalls that social and labour standards in the Employment Bill should not be static, but should directly follow any improvements made to social and labour standards in the EU, in order to ensure a level playing field between the Parties;

7. Recalls that under the TCA any lowering of social and labour standards by the UK in a manner that affects trade or investment, including by failing to effectively enforce its law and standards, constitutes a breach of the non-regression principle and of the level playing field provisions;

8. Expresses concern, in this regard, about reports in recent weeks that a package of deregulatory measures is being considered by the British Business Department as part of a post-Brexit overhaul of the UK labour market, with the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirming that the UK Government is reviewing EU-derived employment laws, some of which – in particular the Working Time Directive – could be discarded; recalls that such measures could, if adopted, dramatically lower the rights of workers in the UK, but may also have a substantial material impact on the level playing field foreseen by the agreement for open and fair competition and sustainable development between the Parties; emphasises that such measures would be in contradiction with the withdrawal agreement and the TCA;

9 Deplores especially, in this regard, that recently adopted Union legislative acts, whose transposition deadlines fell during the transition period, such as the Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers and the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union, have not been transposed in the UK; deplores that although the UK was obliged under Article 127 of the Withdrawal Agreement to transpose the abovementioned directives during the transition period , it has not taken the necessary steps to transpose them into national law and has thus deprived UK citizens of certain newly established rights;

10. Encourages the UK to continue to participate as a third-country observer with no decision-making role in the agencies which are within the remit of Parliament’s Employment Committee, such as the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (based on the model for Norway[20]), as this would allow both Parties to share data, best practices and methodologies; also strongly encourages the UK to cooperate with the European Labour Authority (under Articles 17(6) and 42 of Regulation 2019/1149) in order to ensure effective application and enforcement of Union and UK law related to labour mobility, and with the Administrative Commission under Regulation 883/2004/EC; regrets that such cooperation is not foreseen in the TCA and that the UK has, so far, not expressed an interest therein;

11. Deeply regrets that following the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will not continue to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme for the 2021-2027 period, depriving both EU and UK students of valuable study and work experience abroad; notes that mobility actions covering higher education students and vocational education (VET) will offer the possibility to undertake mobility in third countries, including the UK; strongly encourages the UK to reconsider its approach in this regard and to participate in Erasmus in the future in accordance with Part V of the agreement, including its financial conditions;

12. Deplores the UK’s discriminatory decision to apply different fees for work visas for citizens of certain EU Member States as regards, for instance, seasonal work visas and health and care worker visas; emphasises the importance of guaranteeing equal access to the UK’s labour market for EU citizens and the need to apply the same fee for all EU nationals;

13. Recalls the importance of mechanisms established by both Parties to monitor changes and difficulties that may be experienced by EU Member State citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, with the aim of identifying and resolving situations of legal uncertainty; welcomes the establishment of domestic advisory groups and the Civil Society Forum in this regard;

Level playing field

14. Recalls that, in general, convergent trends in regulation even out competitive conditions, while divergent trends can give rise to relative changes in competitive conditions;

15. Recalls that, in view of the geographic proximity and economic interdependence of the Parties, the EU’s guiding principle throughout the negotiations was to underpin the TCA with robust legal commitments that ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, including, among others, on labour and social standards, in order to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ and unfair competitive advantages obtained through undercutting levels of protection or other regulatory divergence;

16. Notes the main elements of the ‘toolbox’ agreed with the UK as regards labour and social matters, in particular (1) the explicit reference to the European Social Charter and the ILO Conventions, (2) the role of domestic enforcement for non-regression commitments, and (3) the system of rebalancing measures to deal with future divergence;

17. Recalls that the non-regression clause in Article 6.2 is subject to a trade-distortion test and provides that neither Party may weaken or reduce their levels of labour and social protection below the levels existing at the end of the transition period ‘in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties’; regrets in particular the very high threshold in this regard (‘in a manner affecting trade’);

18. Insists that full and strong non-regression on labour and social standards is paramount, as is the close monitoring by both Parties of possible future divergence, and calls on the Commission to fully enforce this provision, to closely involve the social partners in the procedures to check compliance, and to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed as co-legislators,;

19. Stresses in this context the importance of the correct implementation and effective domestic enforcement of the non-regression principle by both Parties, and calls on the Commission to closely monitor developments in this regard; notes that enforcement of the implementation of such levels of protection is foreseen through domestic enforcement and dispute settlement provisions; recalls that, in the event of a dispute between the Parties regarding the application of the labour and social standards chapter, the Parties have recourse exclusively to the procedures established under Articles 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 of Title XI or Part Two derogating from Title I of Part Six on dispute settlement and horizontal provisions; further notes, as regards the rebalancing measures under Article 9.4, that these will only be triggered where material impacts on trade or investment between the Parties arise as a result of significant divergences; is concerned, however, about how a future possible unilateral lowering of social and labour standards by the United Kingdom would be addressed and contested under the TCA, particularly when it comes to demonstrating that trade or investment between the Parties has been affected; reiterates once again that any unilateral lowering of social and labour standards at the expense of European workers and companies must be swiftly addressed and remedied in order to maintain a level playing field;

20. Notes with concern that a review of these rules will take place only after four years or if the rebalancing measures have been used too frequently and if divergence has persisted over a period of 12 months; insists that the European Parliament and social partners be closely involved in the review process;

21. Calls on the Parties to negotiate additional joint interpretative instruments to clarify the chapter on the level playing field in general and the role of Parliament and social partners in its monitoring and implementation in particular, including the possibility for social partners to make formal complaints beyond the submission of an amicus brief to the panel of experts; calls, furthermore, for sufficient resources and a permanent secretariat for the Domestic Advisory Group;

Mobility and social security coordination

22. Recalls that UK citizens residing in the EU and EU citizens residing in the UK were covered and protected until 31 December 2020 by social security coordination rules regarding sickness benefits, maternity and equivalent paternity benefits, invalidity benefits, old-age benefits, survivors’ benefits, benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases, death grants, unemployment benefits, pre-retirement benefits and family benefits under the Withdrawal Agreement;

23. Notes that, according to the TCA, the current provisions for necessary or emergency healthcare will ‘in principle’ continue to apply for temporary stays in the UK and the EU;

24. Welcomes the fact that the new cooperation mechanism as regards social security coordination is close to existing rules under Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004; welcomes, in particular, the fact that EU provisions on non-discrimination, equal treatment and the aggregation of periods are safeguarded in the TCA;

25. Regrets, nevertheless, the restrictions on the material scope and, in particular, that family benefits, long-term care and non-contributory cash benefits and the exportability of unemployment benefits are not included;

26. Regrets also that the TCA does not foresee any dynamic alignment with the evolution of EU legislation on the coordination of social security systems, especially in the context of the current revision of Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009; calls on the Parties to immediately provide citizens affected by restrictions to free movement with solid and reliable information regarding their rights to residence, to work and to social security coordination;

27. Acknowledges that, under the TCA and under certain conditions, workers posted to or from the UK may be subject to the host country’s legislation as regards social security; stresses that this may have a negative impact on their social security biography; welcomes in this regard the transitional provision whereby Member States may request, upon notification to the European Commission, the continuation of the posting system as it existed on 31 December 2020 for a period of up to 15 years;

28. Encourages proper and consistent application of the social security coordination protocol in the Member States to guarantee the same rights for all citizens concerned;

Conclusion

29. Recommends that the European Parliament gives its consent to the TCA, but insists that annual reports on its implementation be presented to the European Parliament, especially as regards the level playing field issue concerning social and labour standards;

 

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety decided to submit an opinion to your Committees in the form of a letter.

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety considered the matter and adopted its opinion on 27 January 2021. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to take these considerations into account in the consent procedure.

Yours sincerely,

Pascal Canfin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

A. having regard to its opinion of 21 January 2020 on the Conclusion of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (2018/0427(NLE)),

B. having regard to its opinion of 8 May 2020 on the recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2020/2023(INI)),

C. having regard to its letter of 23 October 2020 on readiness and response in the event of a ‘no-deal’ in the negotiations with the UK with respect to the environment, public health and food safety,

D. having regard to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part,

General remarks

 

1. Welcomes the fact that that the Paris Agreement will constitute an essential component of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement), and that any violation of this essential component by one Party gives the other Party the right to terminate or suspend all or parts of the Agreement; stresses that this provision should be replicated in all future trade agreements negotiated by the EU;

 

2. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement preserves the guarantees already enshrined in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement, thus ensuring that there will be no regulatory checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; welcomes, further, the fact that the Agreement preserves the integrity of the single market;

 

3. Commends the work of the Head of the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, Michel Barnier, as well as the entire Task Force, for the way the negotiations were conducted by the EU side;

 

4. Welcomes the agreement reached between the Parties on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was a precondition for Parliament to consider granting its consent to any agreement on the future relation; approves the specific temporary flexibilities agreed by the Parties to limit disruptions caused by the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in certain products, including the supply of medicines and chilled meats and other food products to supermarkets; reiterates the need to pay special attention to the trade in products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in order to maintain the integrity of the single market, and to avoid environmental, public health and food safety risks as well as food shortages;

 

5. Calls for a swift deployment of the EU’s EUR 5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve to help the sectors most affected, which are also suffering from the impact of COVID-19;

 

6. Underlines the worrying precedent that the proposal of the UK Internal Market bill represented for the future of bilateral EU-UK relations, and more broadly for the UK’s contribution to upholding the international rules-based system;

 

7. Stresses the need for the Commission to stand ready to make full use of the dispute resolution tools available both in the Agreement as well as in the Withdrawal Agreement in the event of non-compliance by UK authorities; takes note that the Agreement includes a chapter on access to justice which provides for stakeholders to have access to justice through an effective and transparent complaints procedure in case of suspected breaches of the environmental level playing field and non-regression clauses; calls for the proper application of these provisions;

 

8. Highlights that Parliament should exercise maximum scrutiny on the implementation of the Agreement by participating actively in the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly; stresses furthermore that Parliament committees should hold the Commission accountable for its participation in the Partnership Council, the Trade Specialised Committees and Working Groups; believes that Parliament should be involved in any future to review the Agreement, and that the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety should be consulted on issues within its remit;

 

9. Regrets that Parliament was given little time to properly scrutinise the Agreement; regrets, further, that the Agreement had to be provisionally applied, albeit for a limited time, before Parliament was able to give its consent; underlines, moreover, that the specific circumstances of Brexit should in no way represent a precedent for future international agreements negotiated and concluded by the Union; regrets that the most important bilateral agreement to date for the Union was also the agreement that received the least time for parliamentary scrutiny;

 

10. Recognises that this urgency is largely attributable to the negotiating strategy of the UK side, which decided not to seek an extension of the transition period;

 

The level playing field, climate and environmental provisions

 

11. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement reaffirms each Party’s ambition to achieve economy-wide climate neutrality by 2050; regrets that the climate base level of protection with respect to greenhouse gases is, for the Union, the 40 % economy-wide 2030 target, including the Union’s system of carbon pricing, and for the UK, the UK’s economy-wide share of this 2030 target, including the United Kingdom’s system of carbon pricing; deplores that the Parties did not take into account the revised economy-wide targets which are about to be adopted, and considers that provisions should have been included to reflect these imminent changes and increased ambition;

 

12. Recalls that on 18 December 2020, the submission on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of the EU and its Member States was transmitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat with an updated and enhanced target of at least a 55 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990; notes the announcement made by the UK Government on 3 December 2020 of a revised 2030 NDC of 68 % compared to 1990 levels; notes, further, that the UK is not on track to meet its fourth and fifth carbon budget under the current set of policies and funding; welcomes the fact that the UK has announced it will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030;

 

13. Recalls, in addition, that the UK has put forward proposals for its own carbon market, the UK ETS (emissions trading system), to be set up in the second quarter of 2021; notes, however, that it is still unclear how close this system will be to the EU ETS, and points out that questions remain on the practical implementation, ambition and effectiveness of the UK ETS; underlines, further, that the EU plans to further strengthen and expand the scope of its own ETS; considers that, should significant differences emerge between the two systems, this could lead to a distortion of the level playing field, and thus should be taken into account in the application of the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism - once it is in place;

 

14. Regrets the lack of clear provisions on how greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and the maritime sectors will be addressed;

 

15. Notes that the Agreement allows for the possibility of linking the UK ETS with the EU ETS; considers that should the UK request that its own ETS be linked to the EU ETS, this request should only be considered if it is clear that the UK ETS will not undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the EU ETS, in particular its balance of rights and obligations;

 

16. Recalls that the UK-wide backstop was removed from the revised Withdrawal Agreement, which meant that relevant binding environmental provisions were also excluded from the Withdrawal Agreement; welcomes the fact that long-established EU environmental principles are now included in the Agreement, such as the principle that environmental protection should be integrated into policy-making, including through impact assessments, the principle of preventive action to avert environmental damage, the principle that environmental damage should, as a priority, be rectified at source, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle; calls on both parties to interpret and apply the ‘precautionary approach’ in the same way as the ‘precautionary principle’;

 

17. Regrets that the Agreement does not address the UK’s compliance or alignment with the EU’s taxonomy principles and their implementation; is convinced that given the UK’s role as an international finance hub, it will be important to ensure that the taxonomy objectives are not undercut or watered down; notes that the UK plans to introduce its own green taxonomy, taking the scientific metrics from the EU taxonomy;

 

18. Notes that the Parties agreed to non-regression from the levels that were in place at the end of the transition period, and committed to seeking to increase their levels of protection over time; calls on the Parties to aim for dynamic alignment of climate and environmental protection targets; notes that the rebalancing mechanism is limited to ‘significant’ divergences - upwards as well as downwards - that ‘materially affect’ trade or investment; calls on the Commission to provide clarity on the interpretation of ‘significant divergences’, and for full implementation of the enforcement provisions; believes that the link to ‘trade and investment’ should be interpreted broadly; calls on the Parties to ensure that the level playing field conditions are respected;

 

19. Regrets, furthermore, the limited importance given to biodiversity loss as a major environmental challenge, and that the upcoming post-2020 global agreement for nature is not mentioned;

 

20. Underlines that in the past the Commission brought a number of infringement cases against the UK on environmental issues, including air and water quality, and that there were cases still active when the UK withdrew from the European Union; recalls that the UK Environment Agency has raised the prospect of a repeal of the Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) and a reform of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC); underlines how given their transboundary nature, divergences in environmental protection in these areas could threaten air and water quality in the EU; takes note of the planned creation of an Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) in England and Northern Ireland; is concerned by reports that question the future independence of the OEP, its ability to take legal action in cases of breaches of environmental rules, and its funding;

 

21. Is highly concerned about some of the UK’s environmental policies, such as its intention to deregulate genetic modification, which could result in the entry of such products into the EU without safety checks or proper labelling;

 

22. Stresses that as a non-EEA country the UK is no longer part of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or bound by the EU regulatory framework for chemicals (REACH); underlines that the UK’s new regulatory framework must demonstrate the same robustness and transparency as REACH; considers that, far from leading to a simplification, Brexit represents a duplication of EU rules and a burden that will lead to negative consequences, especially on small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK; notes that the Agreement does little to facilitate trade in chemicals other than providing for regulatory cooperation, a commitment to the transparency of the procedures for the classification of substances, and a commitment to implementing the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals; welcomes any future negotiations to find a closer form of cooperation on chemicals safety management;

 

Health issues

 

23. Welcomes the provisions on cooperation on health security, which enable the Parties and Member States’ competent authorities to exchange relevant information, but regrets that this cooperation has been limited to assessing ‘significant’ public health risks, and to coordinating the measures that could be required to protect public health; underlines that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced the case for closer cooperation on health matters, as well as for structured and regular two-way communication between authorities and stakeholders in order to better react to crisis situations;

 

24. Supports the facilitation arrangements included in the Agreement to facilitate the supply of medicinal products, such as the recognition of results of inspections carried out by the other Party’s authorities, as this will avoid unnecessary duplication of inspections to assess compliance with good manufacturing practice requirements, and the possibility for each Party to unilaterally extend such recognition for manufacturing facilities located outside the territory of the issuing authority under specific terms and conditions;

 

25. Regrets that the Agreement does not contain a comprehensive Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on medicines regulations, as this would have limited the duplication of regulatory and quality-related work and processes for companies marketing products in the EU and in the UK; encourages the relevant authorities in the EU and UK to continue parallel discussions to agree on an MRA following the example of existing agreements between the EU and other third countries; further deplores that the Agreement is silent on medical devices, as this will mean no mutual recognition of notified bodies, or of the certificates that they issue;

 

26. Underlines that the Agreement provides that the UK will cease to participate in the centralised European Medicines Agency (EMA) procedure for market authorisation of medicines; calls on the Commission to be available for ongoing monitoring and dialogue with UK bodies including the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA);

 

27. Stresses that, given that the Regulations on the transfer of personal data for medical research are currently overseen through the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), further clarification is needed on the UK’s implementation of the provisions of the EU Clinical Trials Regulation, EU blood safety standards and future access to EU networks that help with organ donation;

 

Food safety

 

28. Notes that the UK’s departure from the EU’s internal market and Customs Union mean that both Parties will maintain separate regimes regulating human, plant and animal health; notes that the provisions on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures largely reflect the WTO rules in these areas;

 

29. Welcomes the fact that there will be no changes to EU food safety standards, and that the Agreement aims to safeguard the EU’s high SPS standards; reiterates that the trade flows between the EU and the UK in goods bound by SPS measures will be extremely high, and that the EU should have a proper coordination process to avoid divergent checks on goods coming from the UK at EU ports;

 

30. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement includes the principle of regionalisation, the procedure for the listing of approved establishments, and a number of measures aimed at limiting SPS import procedures where possible, while upholding strict sanitary standards; considers that import checks should be based on the SPS risk associated with such imports, but welcomes the fact that the frequency of identity and physical checks could be reduced to take into account the extent to which the Parties’ SPS rules converge;

 

31. Regrets that there is no specific mention of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in the Agreement;

 

32. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement provides a framework for dialogue and cooperation with a view to strengthening the fight against the development of anti-microbial resistance.

 

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety considers it of the utmost importance for its views and concerns to be duly noted and addressed, and therefore asks the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to take into account its position as set out above.

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible for recommending that Parliament give its consent to the draft Council decision on the Conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part.

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy has been asked to submit an opinion to your committees.

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy considered the matter at its meeting of 14 January 2021. Following a written procedure involving its coordinators concluded on 29 January 2021, the Committee decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to attach the following opinion to the consent recommendation.

Yours sincerely,

Cristian‑Silviu Buşoi

 

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to attach the following opinion to the consent recommendation:

1. Welcomes the fact that an agreement on the future relations between the EU and the UK could still be found before the end of the transition period; deeply regrets, however, that the time for parliamentary scrutiny is extremely short given the fact that the agreement came late, and that its provisional application has been limited and will expire at the end of February 2021;

2. Supports overall the agreements reached, underlines the need to remain vigilant on the full respect of the non-regression clauses; highlights, however, that many details still need to be worked out in the Partnership Council and its specialised committees; calls on the Commission to ensure that Parliament and its specialised committees are kept adequately informed and involved from an early stage in the work in the Partnership Council and its committees; calls furthermore for a permanent structure to ensure Parliament’s involvement in the regular reviews of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ;

3 Expresses concern about the autonomous role the Partnership Council will have not only in reviewing, but also in amending the Agreement with regard to future participation in EU programmes, including Horizon Europe and other programmes in the ITRE remit; calls therefore for the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement between the Parliament and the Commission to ensure that any decisions adopted in the Partnership Council with regard to future participation in Union programmes will only be taken after obtaining support from Parliament;

 

Research

4. Welcomes the continuation of European cooperation with the UK in the fields of science, research and innovation; underlines the importance of supporting researchers’ mobility to ensuring that scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely; deplores, however, the UK’s selective participation in this area; considers that the Erasmus+ programme is an indispensable part of Europe’s education system, which trains excellent researchers and offers unique opportunities for researchers; notes that the benefits of Horizon Europe cannot exist without excellent education; believes therefore that UK participation in Horizon Europe should go hand in hand with participation in Erasmus+, and that additional efforts should be made to convince the UK to also sign up to Erasmus+; believes UK participation in both programmes will benefit both parties and further contribute to Europe’s success in science and technology;

5. Welcomes the UK association in Horizon Europe; highlights that this is a historic association, as an association has never before had such important budgetary implications for the Union; recalls that the relevant conditions for the participation of third countries established in the corresponding programmes set the basis for the negotiations on programme participation; highlights that association agreements with third countries have in the past been concluded under Article 218(6) of the TFEU following a consent procedure; calls therefore for full parliamentary scrutiny, including consent by Parliament before adoption of Protocol I (Programmes and activities in which the United Kingdom participates);

6. Urges the UK and the Commission to continue dialogue with a view to establishing an effective framework for the mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications;

Space

7. Welcomes the participation of the United Kingdom in the Copernicus component of the EU Space Programme, and the fact that UK users can continue to access EU space surveillance and tracking services; believes that the EU and the UK should closely cooperate on space, notes in this regard that the UK could participate in other components of the Space Programme, based on similar third-country agreements subject to negotiations for each programme or component, and on an appropriate balance between obligations and rights, while respecting the EU’s strategic autonomy in the space sector;

Industry and SMEs

8. Supports the provisions for a level playing field for open and fair competition and sustainable development which aim to provide for equitable conditions for European industries; welcomes the special provisions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which aim to enhance their ability to take full advantage of the Agreement’s trade provisions, such as the setting up of dedicated SME contact points; urges the Commission to remain vigilant about protecting European industry supply chains against the direct and indirect effects of Brexit; calls in particular for assistance during this transition process to SMEs integrated in the value chains of big companies ;

9. Emphasises the importance of avoiding regulatory uncertainty, administrative burdens and procedural complexity, in particular with regard to dispute settlement, increased certification requirements and testing to meet both EU and UK standards, which will add complexity and cost; calls therefore on the Partnership Council to closely monitor the risks of dumping, as well as the administrative burden for businesses and the energy and research communities, and to ensure that formalities are as few as possible when exporting goods or providing services; is concerned nevertheless that SMEs will struggle to comply quickly with the new rules, and believes that more needs to be done to support SMEs in this regard;

10. Welcomes in particular the guarantees on environmental protection, over and above the non-regression provisions applicable to the environment, climate and labour protection; emphasises that these should be monitored and upheld in order to ensure a level playing field between the Parties in the future, and to prevent businesses from relocating their activities to the territory with lower costs of production stemming from relaxed environmental rules or social standards, thus lowering the competitiveness of one Party;

 

ICT

11. Supports the agreement reached on the provision of telecommunications networks and services, which largely safeguards the existing acquis; regrets however that transposition of the Roaming Regulation could not be agreed on; calls therefore on mobile service operators to continue applying the ‘roam like at home’ principle in both the EU and the UK;

12. Underlines the importance of the free flow of data for both citizens and businesses; welcomes therefore the provisions ensuring cross-border data flows to facilitate trade in the digital economy while ensuring proper application of the EU acquis; emphasises the need for intense cooperation to ensure data interoperability; stresses the need to structure a regular dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence; calls for regular monitoring of these provisions due to the fast-changing technological and regulatory environment, and calls on the Partnership Council to ensure the UK’s continued alignment with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);

13. Welcomes the provisions on cybersecurity which provide for a regular dialogue between the EU and the UK, continued information exchange between computer emergency response teams (CERTs), the UK’s participation in specific activities of the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Cooperation Group, and the UK’s cooperation with the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), and notes the need for more cooperation in this field;

Energy

14. Notes that the energy chapter expires on 30 June 2026, unless both the EU and the UK agree to extend the arrangement on an annual basis; underlines the need to continue cooperation on all energy matters beyond that date, given the interconnection of both energy markets and the fact that Northern Ireland will remain within the EU’s internal energy market; calls for a strong role of the European Parliament when deciding on this extension;

15. Calls for Projects of Common Interests (PCIs) and the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E guidelines) to take into account the specific challenges Ireland is facing;

16. Invites the UK to seek cooperation arrangements with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity and Gas (ENTSO-E and ENTSO-G) and the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER); calls on the Commission to implement an energy cooperation practice, including with the aim of avoiding a rise in final energy prices;

17. Welcomes the integration of some principles of EU electricity market design into the Agreement; underlines that the inclusion of all key principles would be mutually beneficial for future cooperation; calls furthermore for ongoing projects in the field of energy to be continued;

18. Encourages efforts, and considers it essential, to link the EU’s Emissions Trading System and the UK’s future domestic scheme in order to jointly work on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and respect the Paris Agreement;

19. Calls for a memorandum of understanding, based on the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) framework, that includes at least joint projects, maritime spatial planning, the integration of offshore energy in energy markets, including best practices in each party’s offshore and onshore grid planning, support framework and financing, with adequate scrutiny by both parties;

20. Notes the EU-UK Agreement for cooperation on the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, regrets that it is not part of the consent procedure as the Euratom Treaty does not provide for a role of the European Parliament; encourages a swift adoption of Protocol I [Programmes and activities in which the United Kingdom participates], allowing the UK’s participation in the ITER activities as an associated third country to Fusion For Energy;

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy thus calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNAL MARKET AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

 

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)0856 – C9‑0432/2020 – 2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Mr McAllister and Mr Lange,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection has been asked to submit an opinion to your committee in the form of a letter.

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection considered the matter at its meeting of 28 January 2021. At that meeting[21], it decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their motion for a resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Cavazzini

Chair

SUGGESTIONS

1. Considers that the Internal Market is a main achievement of the Union, has been highly beneficial for all parties’ economies and has created a basis for progress in the quality of life of citizens; stresses that this new era of economic partnership should be oriented towards generating mutually beneficial opportunities and should by no means result in any regression in the integrity and functioning of the Internal Market and the customs union; underlines, in this context, that third countries cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as Member States, and that distortions in the trade in goods and services, unfair competition and an uneven playing field should be avoided as far as possible within the terms of the agreement; acknowledges that the extension of the facilitations granted to authorised economic operators is an appropriate way forward to avoid distortions in trade;

2. Declares that a robust market surveillance and customs control system and a high level of protection for the rights of EU consumers through effective market surveillance, product traceability, product safety, high quality standards and enforcement mechanisms are key elements in protecting the Internal Market and the citizens of the Union; considers that the mechanisms for the settlement of disputes under the provisions of this agreement need to function in an effective, automatic and swiftly enforceable way so as to constitute a real deterrent against deviations from the agreement;

3. Stresses that the full implementation of the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and in particular the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, is of the utmost importance for the integrity of the Internal Market and the customs union, which are areas that fall under the responsibility of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection; underlines that its implementation is to be considered a cornerstone for the future relationship with the UK and an integral part of the new relationship between the EU and the UK, and as such, should be closely monitored, scrutinised and properly enforced;

4. Considers it to be of capital importance to bring clarity to the system for the determination of goods that are at risk of being imported into the Union, as well as to guarantee unhindered access to the necessary information and physical locations for the agents of the Union in charge of verification of the obligations of compliance with the applicable legislation in the areas of customs, security and safety, and market surveillance, in order for them to be able to perform their duties;

5. Underlines, therefore, that compliance with the protocol is to be considered an integral part of the conditions for benefiting from the facilitations provided for by the agreement on a future relationship, and that failure to fulfil the obligations of the parties as established by the protocol is to be considered grounds for triggering the arbitration procedure and, where relevant, the rebalancing mechanism that allows either side to impose remedial measures to counter situations of unfair disadvantage to the detriment of their businesses and citizens;

6. Notes that trade in services represents an essential contribution to the European economy, and acknowledges that appropriate arrangements on trade in services between the EU and the UK have been found, which include provisions on market access and national treatment under host country rules that ensure that EU service providers are treated in a non-discriminatory manner; acknowledges that the arrangements provide for a clear framework on mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which responds to Parliament’s recommendations by preserving the regulatory autonomy of the EU in this area; welcomes the possibility of addressing joint recommendations to the Partnership Council, which may be the basis for arrangements for the recognition of professional qualifications for specific professions without lowering national levels of education; firmly believes that the exclusive competence of the Union should be fully respected in the future and therefore that the conclusion of bilateral agreements on mutual recognition of qualifications between individual Member States and the UK should be avoided;

7. Is dismayed that the extremely late conclusion of this agreement created great uncertainty for consumers and businesses within the EU Internal Market and the UK, and that this had a negative impact on Parliament’s scrutiny activity; insists that the only way to guarantee the achievement of the objectives of the agreement is to ensure its full implementation and effective enforcement, and stresses the importance of the role of Parliament in monitoring this implementation; calls for the Commission to firmly and clearly commit to Parliament to ensuring effective cooperation with and the active involvement of Parliament as regards scrutiny and oversight, and to providing prompt and exhaustive information on the implementation and potential adaptation of the agreement; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to ensure that Parliament will receive adequate and timely information ahead of and after the relevant meetings of the Partnership Council and on regulatory cooperation activities;

 

8. Underlines that in the implementation process the EU should give special attention to the conformity of the customs checks performed before the goods enter the Internal Market (either coming from the UK or from other third countries via the UK) as envisaged in the agreement, and insists that ensuring the compliance of goods with Internal Market rules is of the utmost importance; stresses the need for greater investment in customs control facilities and for further coordination and exchange of information between both parties in order to prevent trade disruptions as far as possible, as well as to preserve the integrity of the customs union in the interest of consumers and businesses; considers that smooth cooperation between customs and market surveillance authorities is absolutely necessary and raises concerns in particular about the necessary operational capacity of an EU office in Belfast;

9. Notes, with regard to the agreement on digital trade, the importance of facilitating the settlement of cross-border disputes in online trade, and the need for consumers buying online to be properly informed of any additional fees or customs duties that they may have to pay when buying from a UK trader; hopes that the UK will continue to respect EU data standards and can continue to be deemed as having an adequate level of protection for data originating in the Union;

10. Considers that the arrangements on public procurement reached in the agreement can guarantee the necessary reciprocity and non-discrimination provisions in the interests of EU businesses and consumers;

11. Notes that in view of the all-island economy in Ireland, roaming charges may have considerable negative implications in border areas;

12. Notes that the agreement does not include a dynamic alignment provision, which could have contributed to creating a level playing field in the areas of consumer protection, sustainable standards and competition rules; welcomes, however, the agreement’s non-regression clause, especially in the area of consumer protection, but also in the other relevant areas, as well as the unilateral rebalancing measures which would serve in the event of significant divergences in areas where such divergences materially impact trade or investment; underlines the importance of protecting the EU from potential regulatory divergence by the UK in the future;

13. Calls on the Commission to assess how unfair competitive advantages due to gradually differing regulatory schemes can be prevented and to ensure the continuous development of higher EU standards, such as consumer rights related to digitalisation and sustainability; calls for the swift, effective and equitable enforcement of dispute settlement and remedial measures to maintain the integrity of the Internal Market and to guarantee free and fair competition that does not damage the high quality of EU standards and consumer protection, with a view to ensuring appropriate and proportionate administrative requirements for consumers and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs);

14. Notes that consumer habits and consumer confidence in cross-border shopping have already been negatively affected by the uncertainty over the applicable rules and calls on the Government of the UK, the Commission and the Member States to swiftly implement the measures set out in the agreement for the protection of consumers, and to reinforce cooperation between the EU and the UK on various sectoral policies relating to sustainable production methods and product safety; calls for transparency along the product-service supply chain for the benefit of consumers, and declares that prices that reflect the total costs of the purchase, including all relevant applicable fees and duties, and clarity on the applicable consumer rights are key to avoiding friction and fostering the confidence of consumers when purchasing across the border.

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND TOURISM

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the consent to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Transport and Tourism decided to request the application of Rule 56(1) in order to submit an opinion to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade in form of this letter.

 

The Committee on Transport and Tourism wishes to make the following remarks:

SUGGESTIONS

1. Welcomes the fact that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the ‘Agreement’) will provide continued and unhindered connectivity for air, road and maritime transport and will ensure fair competition between EU and UK transport operators; welcomes, in this regard, the fact that the Agreement establishes reciprocal market access and common rules and standards in a wide range of areas, ensuring a high level of transport safety, workers’ and passengers’ rights and environmental protection in those areas; welcomes also the fact that the Agreement ensures connectivity while not granting the UK the same level of rights as offered by the single market;

2. Underlines that the EU must remain vigilant about the fact that the UK has not committed itself to the dynamic alignment of its rules on several policy areas; points out that this means that the unilateral tightening of rules and standards in the EU will not automatically lead to the alignment of the corresponding UK rules and standards;

3. Welcomes the comprehensive chapter on air transport included in the Agreement, which should ensure that the EU’s strategic interests are protected, and which contains appropriate provisions on market access, traffic rights, code sharing and passengers’ rights; welcomes the specific provisions concerning a level playing field in the chapter on aviation, which will ensure that EU and UK air carriers compete on an equal footing; notes the solution found to the ownership and control rules, which govern access to the internal market while leaving the possibility for continued liberalisation in the future;

4. Welcomes the specific chapter on aviation safety; notes that the agreed text includes close cooperation in aviation safety and air traffic management; considers that such cooperation should not limit the EU in determining the level of protection that it considers appropriate for safety; underlines the importance of the future close collaboration between the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency;

5. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement will ensure quota-free connectivity between the EU and the UK for road transport hauliers and that it will guarantee full transit rights for both parties across each other’s territories, the so-called ‘land bridge’; welcomes the strong level playing field achieved in the negotiations for road transport and the specific provisions thereof, which will bind the UK to the high EU standards applicable to the road haulage sector; highlights, in this regard, that the Agreement includes inter alia standards on access to the profession, posting of drivers, driving and rest times, tachographs and weights and dimensions of vehicles; notes that such standards will not only ensure fair competition, but will also guarantee good working conditions for drivers and a high level of road safety; welcomes the special provisions relating to Northern Ireland, adopted in recognition of Ireland’s unique situation, which will minimise disruption to the economy on the island of Ireland;

6. Notes that passenger road transport is to be provisionally covered by the Interbus agreement (covering only occasional services), safeguarding passengers’ rights and ensuring a high level of safety; stresses, therefore, that the Protocol to the Interbus Agreement covering regular and special regular passenger transport services by coach and bus should be concluded as soon as possible in order to avoid potential disruption of connectivity between the EU and the UK;

7. Notes that, while the agreement does not cover rail, the appropriate steps have been taken on a bilateral basis between France and the UK to address the specific situation of the Channel Tunnel; considers that an appropriate temporary safety and authorisation regime has been put in place, following the adoption of contingency measures at the end of 2020[22];

8. Stresses the need for continued cooperation with the UK with the aim of increasing the sustainability of transport;

9. Welcomes the fact that the Agreement ensures reciprocal and equal market access for the international maritime transport sector, with an appropriate level playing field in safety, security, environmental and social areas, to EU and UK ports, without compromising the existing high EU standards in these areas; highlights the importance of ensuring efficient customs checks and smooth export and import operations between EU and UK ports, without causing disruptions to the transport trade links and without hampering the competitiveness of the EU fleet;

10. Underlines the importance of EU-UK partnerships on research and development across all transport modes and welcomes UK participation in cross-border transport projects of common interest based on reciprocity, including continued cooperation within the framework of the TEN-T network and efforts to create interoperability along all corridors, for example in terms of seamless deployment of alternative fuels and charging infrastructure;

11. Highlights the importance of the proper implementation of the Agreement; welcomes in this regard the establishment of the Specialised Committees in the field of transport namely those for air transport, aviation safety and road transport to monitor and review the implementation of the Agreement; calls on the Commission to set up a dedicated structure that enables the social partners to be involved in the monitoring and implementation of the Agreement, and gives them the possibility to submit complaints; urges the Commission to stand ready to make full use of the dispute resolution mechanisms and to take remedial measures provided for in the agreement in the event of non-compliance by the UK; stresses that, in the future, Parliament should exercise the highest level of scrutiny in respect of the implementation of the Agreement through its active and continuous participation in the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly established by the Agreement.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned remarks, the Committee on Transport and Tourism recommends that the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade give its consent to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

((signed)) [Karima Delli]   [Johan Danielsson]

 

CC:  D. Sassoli, President

A. Tajani, CCC Chair

Legislative Coordination


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)08562020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Regional Development has been asked to submit an opinion to your respective committees. At its meeting on 1 February 2021, the Committee on Regional Development adopted the following opinion in the form of a letter (rapporteur: Pascal Arimont), with 37 votes in favour, 0 against and 2 abstentions.

* * *

The Committee on Regional Development welcomes the fact that an agreement was reached on the future relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding the additional problems which would have been caused by the absence of an agreement. However, it regrets the fact that the links between the Union and the UK will be relatively weak, including in the key area of regional development.

Although these links will be looser than those which the EU has with certain associated countries, it is clear that the economic and social damage would be greater if this agreement were not concluded. Combined with the fact that the EU’s regulatory freedom is fully maintained, this is sufficient reason to support the ratification of the agreement.

Nevertheless, it is important that the Commission should involve the European Parliament, as well as regional and local authorities, in the scrutiny and monitoring processes related to the implementation of this agreement. In this context, it is particularly important that there is no lowering of labour, social and environmental standards on either side.

The important role of the Union’s cohesion policy in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion is evident. It is an acknowledged fact that certain regions of the UK have been major beneficiaries of cohesion policy over the years. While the UK has regrettably decided not to participate in the Union’s cohesion policy overall, the committee welcomes the fact that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides a general framework for the UK’s future participation in Union programmes.

The UK is, however, continuing to participate in the PEACE+ Programme, which is part of Interreg. This committee has stressed many times that this programme is of key importance to the peace process and to communities in Northern Ireland, and must not fall victim to the Brexit process[23]. It therefore welcomes the fact that its continuation is assured, with financing from both sides.

The committee calls for future reflection on possible wider participation by the UK in cohesion policy programmes, within the framework created by this agreement. In particular, provision could be made for the participation of parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland in Interreg. For example, in its position paper on the future of cohesion policy of April 2018, the UK Government envisaged the wider continuation of Interreg funding in the United Kingdom (in addition to PEACE+). It would be in the mutual interests of the EU and the UK for the UK to participate in cohesion policy objectives and programmes.

Furthermore, the committee notes that the Scottish Government has expressed an interest in the participation of Scotland in certain Union programmes, which could also encompass cohesion policy.

Finally, the committee welcomes the fact that the provisional EU-UK framework agreement on Gibraltar includes the political will to envisage a financial mechanism, inspired by cohesion policy, between Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar, focusing on training, skills and employment[24], which could be complemented by EU structural funds, in particular through Interreg programmes.

* * *

For the reasons set out above, the Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade to recommend that Parliament should grant its consent to the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information.

Yours sincerely,

Younous Omarjee

 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

37

+

EPP

Pascal Arimont, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Tom Berendsen, Franc Bogovič, Daniel Buda, Christian Doleschal, Mircea-Gheorghe Hava, Krzysztof Hetman, Peter Jahr, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Andrey Novakov

S&D

Adrian-Dragoş Benea, Erik Bergkvist, Corina Crețu, Constanze Krehl, Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, Pedro Marques, Tsvetelina Penkova

RENEW

Stéphane Bijoux, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Ondřej Knotek, Susana Solís Pérez, Irène Tolleret

ID

Francesca Donato, Alessandro Panza, Vincenzo Sofo

Verts/ALE

François Alfonsi, Ciarán Cuffe, Rosa D’Amato, Niklas Nienaß, Caroline Roose

ECR

Raffaele Fitto, Elżbieta Kruk, Andżelika Anna Możdżanowska

The Left

Martina Michels, Younous Omarjee

NI

Chiara Gemma

 

0

-

 

2

0

ID

Maxette Pirbakas, André Rougé

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)08562020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

I refer herewith to the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (COM(2020)0856).

 

The coordinators in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) considered the matter at their meeting of 26 January. They acknowledged the beneficial nature of the agreement for agriculture and agri-food, as the sector would have suffered considerably had both partners been trading under WTO rules.

 

However, the coordinators also deplored the fact that the agreement does not provide for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin (GIs) approved as of 1 January 2021, and called for bilateral cooperation mechanisms for the mutual recognition thereof. They also reiterated the fact that the full and effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement is required in order to uphold the integrity of the single market and customs union, and that Parliament should be kept appropriately informed of the monitoring of the application of the agreement and should exercise its scrutiny rights in this respect.

 

These reservations notwithstanding, the AGRI coordinators unanimously consented to the conclusion by the EU of the above agreement with the United Kingdom, and asked me to convey their opinion to you pursuant to Rule 56.

Yours sincerely,

Norbert Lins

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

ASP 15E201

Brussels

 

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

ASP 12G301

Brussels

Subject: <Titre>Opinion of the Committee on Fisheries on the conclusion of the ‘EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ </Titre><DocRef>2020/0382(NLE)</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

Under the procedure referred to in subject, the Committee on Fisheries has been invited to submit an opinion on the approval of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, provisionally in force since 1st January 2021 and pending conclusion of Parliament’s consent procedure.

Considering the tight time schedule for the European Parliament to take position on this highly important Agreement, the Coordinators of the Committee on Fisheries decided to provide its opinion in the form of a letter (Rule 56(1) second subparagraph), to be annexed in full to Parliament’s consent recommendation. This opinion, drafted by Mr Xavier Bellamy, the PECH standing rapporteur for Brexit, was presented and discussed in the Committee on Fisheries on 25 January and in several meetings of the Coordinators.

 

 

On behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, please find attached hereto its opinion on the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, as adopted with a very large majority by the Coordinators by written procedure on 2 February 2021.

Yours sincerely,

Pierre Karleskind

 

 

 

 

c/c: Legislative Coordination

 

 having regard to the European Parliament recommendation on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland adopted on 18 June 2020 (A9-0117/2020), especially about fisheries,

A. whereas the disastrous scenario of a lack of an agreement was only narrowly averted, thus avoiding immediate and significant damage to hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Union’s fishing, aquaculture and processing sectors, the numerous coastal territories and coastal communities that it supports, and to the implementation of sustainable rules for the protection of marine species and biodiversity; whereas the agreement still brings about negative effects on fishers and fishing communities, where some sectors and communities will face huge negative effects;

B. Considering the emblematic dimension of fisheries in the discussion on the Agreement;

The Committee on Fisheries:

1. Expresses its relief at the achievement of an Agreement on Fisheries as an integral part of the comprehensive Agreement, which preserves the possibility of access to the waters, resources and markets of the parties concerned; recognises the work of the EU negotiating team to preserve fishing activities and the principle of sustainable management of resources shared for several decades with the UK and thanks it for its constant commitment to the European fishing sector;

2. Deplores, however, the definitive loss of 25 % of the value of historic fishing rights held by European fleets in UK waters; recalls that this reduction, while being less damaging than a complete closure of UK waters, nevertheless constitutes a major loss for the concerned operators in the sector, in particular in the territories and communities most dependent on these fishing grounds;

3. Affirms its great concern about the situation that will follow the 5½ year transition period, after which this 25 % loss will be fully effective; calls on the Commission to take all the necessary guarantees so that the balance obtained with the UK is not called into question at the end of this period, and in particular that this 25 % reduction threshold is never exceeded and that reciprocal access remains granted; in that regards, is concerned about the fact that the Partnership Council is allowed to amend Annexes FISH 1, 2 and 3; requests that Parliament be consulted ahead of any such change; calls on the Commission to publish, and if necessary quickly activate, all the means at its disposal to ensure that the clauses of this Agreement are respected on a permanent basis;

4. Stresses that it is essential now to guarantee fishers predictable and long term conditions and the visibility indispensable to the management of their activity and to the realization of necessary investments, many of which had already been put on hold for four years due to the uncertainty created by the negotiation period;

5. Is particularly concerned by the risks related to the implementation of the Agreement after the end of the adjustment period, as the only provisions with respect to access to waters is that parties shall conduct annual negotiations ‘in good faith and with the objectives of ensuring a mutually satisfactory balance between the interests of both parties’; also recalls the importance of the European capital invested in UK flagged vessels and the need for continuing investment possibilities in fisheries-related businesses between the EU and the UK in view of its employment and economic benefits for both sides; is therefore concerned about possible restrictions on the flagging of vessels, the requirement that the total or a proportion of the total catches is landed in UK ports or any other risks for investments in the fisheries sector, notably in consideration of the potential impact of Reservation number 13 (‘Fisheries and water’) made by the UK to ANNEX SERVIN-2 of the Agreement;

6. Highlights its deep concern regarding the consequences of the possibility for the UK to diverge from Union Regulations on Technical Measures and other related Union environmental legislation; recalls that the Agreement obliges each party to precisely justify the non-discriminatory nature of any development in this area, and the necessity, in the light of scientifically verifiable data, to ensure long-term environmental sustainability; calls on the Commission to be particularly vigilant that these conditions are complied with and to strongly respond in case the UK acts in a discriminatory manner;

7. Underlines the risk of market distortions and of generating an unlevel playing field and ecological risks due to possible sustainability divergences between the UK and EU; calls on the Commission to ensure that the UK does not deviate from the EU objective of ending overfishing;

8. Calls on the Commission to ensure that fishing licenses are granted within a reasonable timeframe, in order to avoid any risk of discrimination in maintaining access to UK waters; considers that special attention should be paid to licenses for access to the 6-12 miles zone, to the clarification of the rules and procedures for vessels which did not operate before 2016, as well, as to the possibility to transfer access rights to a new vessel in case another vessel leaves the fleet;

9. Expresses concerns as regard the consequences of different rules applicable to territories with special UK related status, notably Crown dependencies and Overseas Territories. Calls on the Commission to pay special attention to the specificities of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man regarding the implementation of the Agreement and especially to ensure a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution on access to these waters, equivalent to the Granville Bay Agreement; Regrets that EU capital fleet and the mixed capital fleet operating in UK Overseas Territories such as the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands will have to face tariffs when exporting their catches to the Union and urges the Commission and Council to assess all options to guarantee preferential access to EU fisheries markets aligned with the conditions provided for in the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom;

10. Expresses concerns as regards the risks and impacts of possibly important restrictions on EU future fishing possibilities, notably in mixed fisheries, in consideration of provisions applicable to non-quotas species in particular;

11. Calls for the maintenance of a simple quota-exchange mechanism between parties and producer organisations;

12. Recalls that, as a result of the Agreement, the EU fishing sector will suffer considerable economic loss; considers therefore, as a matter of priority, that the compensation to be provided for in the Brexit Adjustment Reserve must be commensurate with the damage suffered by the sector and the fishing communities, taking into account all consequences, direct and indirect, of the Agreement;

13. Highlights that the Agreement, as provisionally applied, has already caused conflicts and unfortunate confusion, extra costs and financial losses for fishers, especially those used to operate in the Crown dependencies waters, as well as weakened supply chains and retailers; to report and resolve any difficulties that may arise, stresses the need for the stakeholders in this sector to be involved in the implementation of this Agreement and its future evaluations;

14. Welcomes the fact that a consultation mechanism, through the Specialised Committee on Fisheries, makes it possible to monitor the implementation of this Agreement, and calls for its rapid establishment once details have been provided on its role and composition; indicates that the European Parliament must be involved in this body and kept regularly informed on its assessments of the Agreement; Firmly calls on the Commission to regularly report to the Committee on Fisheries on the implementation of the Agreement, including on the developments in annual negotiations on fishing possibilities and access to waters;

15. Despite these uncertainties, the Agreement generally preserves a favourable framework for fisheries; the Committee on Fisheries therefore calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to recommend approval of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part.


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(COM(2020)0856 – C9‑XXXX/2021 – 2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Mr McAllister, dear Mr Lange,

Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Culture and Education has been asked to submit an opinion to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to the Committee on International Trade. At its meeting of 11 January 2021, the committee decided to send the opinion in the form of a letter.

The Committee on Culture and Education considered the matter at its meeting of 26 January 2021. At that meeting, it decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their motion for a resolution.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sabine Verheyen

Chair, Committee on Culture and Education

SUGGESTIONS

1. Deeply regrets the UK’s decision not to participate in the Erasmus+ programme for the period of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF); underlines that the decision will result in a lose-lose outcome, depriving people and organisations in the Union and in the UK of life-changing opportunities through exchange and cooperation projects; is particularly surprised that the UK cited excessive participation costs as the reason for its decision; urges the UK to use the ‘cooling-off’ period provided for under the Joint Declaration on Participation in Union Programmes to reconsider its position;

 

2. Welcomes the announcement by the Irish government that it will fund Erasmus+ mobility exchanges for students from universities in Northern Ireland, irrespective of their nationality, and will put in place the necessary university enrolment arrangements to make this possible; recalls that, under the Erasmus+ programme, entities from countries not associated to the programme are entitled to participate in specific actions and calls on the Commission to put in place the necessary arrangements to enable UK institutions to participate under these provisions;

 

3. Notes that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) provides for the UK to participate in the Horizon Europe programme; recalls that education and research are both integral parts of academic cooperation and that synergies between Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ are a key dimension of the new programme generation; underlines that it will monitor the situation closely to ensure that the differentiated approach to UK participation in the Union’s two academic cooperation programmes does not undermine their effectiveness or the results of past cooperation;

 

4. Continues to regret the UK’s previous decision not to participate in either the Creative Europe or the European Solidarity Corps programmes from 1 January 2021; is concerned that this decision will jeopardise many years of cooperation, depriving both the UK and the EU of a powerful source of creativity, change and innovation;

 

5. Is disappointed that the TCA does not provide for visa-free arrangements for the purposes of study, meaning that EU students wishing to study in the UK and UK students wishing to study in the EU will be required to obtain a visa; points out, furthermore, that the end of equal treatment rules will mean that EU students wishing to study in the UK will not be subject to the same arrangements for tuition fees and access to student loans as their UK peers and vice-versa; regrets that UK will not participate in the initiatives and measures designed to establish a genuine European Education Area by 2025, further denting cooperation;

 

6. Recalls that Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications no longer applies to the UK and regrets that the TCA does not contain provisions to enable the mutual recognition of professional qualifications; urges the UK and the Commission to continue dialogue with a view to establishing an effective framework for the mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications; 

 

7. Is disappointed that it was not possible to find a mutually acceptable solution enabling visa-free entry and stay for artists and cultural professionals, especially given the importance of touring to the sector and to cultural exchange in general; insists that the provisions governing the entry and temporary stay of natural persons for business purposes are ill-suited to the cultural and creative sector and risk resulting in onerous and potentially prohibitive visa requirements for touring artists and cultural professionals; stresses that visa-free arrangements are in the interests of the sector in both the EU and the UK and urges both parties to work towards an agreement;

 

8. Considers that the UK’s decision not to participate in relevant Union programmes, coupled with the provisions governing students’ and artists’ mobility, will inevitably hamper continued dialogue and cooperation between the Union and the UK in the fields of education and training, youth and culture; recalls that the arrangements under the TCA run counter to the express wishes of the relevant sectors in both the EU and the UK;

 

9. Welcomes the fact that the TCA applies the exception culturelle and that audiovisual services are therefore excluded from its scope;

 

10. Recalls that, since the UK is party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, audiovisual works originating in the UK are considered, as a matter of principle, as ‘European works’ for the purposes of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in accordance with Article 1, paragraph 1, point (n) and paragraph 3; stresses in that regard that they may be used to fulfil the 30% share of European works in the catalogues of media service providers of on-demand audiovisual media services in the Member States; considers that the situation should be closely monitored;

 

11. Notes with satisfaction that the TCA provides for continued cooperation with respect to the return of unlawfully removed and illicitly trafficked cultural objects to their country of origin in accordance with the principles enshrined in the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property; looks forward to active cooperation in this field.

 

12. Considers that education, cultural and youth exchanges are the backbone of a good relationship between partners; believes that close cooperation and dialogue in these areas should continue through all possible means and calls on the parties to explore future avenues in this regard; urges both parties to use the TCA as a foundation on which to retain and build ties in the areas of education, culture, media, youth and sport for the benefit of EU and UK citizens; emphasises that participation in Union programmes remains open to the UK after the 2021-2027 MFF.

 


 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

 

 

Subject: Opinion <Titre>of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information</Titre> <DocRef>(2020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

It is my pleasure to inform you that, further to the Conference of Presidents decision of 28 December 2020, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) decided on 11 January 2021 to request approval to submit an opinion in the form of a letter to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade under the procedure referred to above, pursuant to Rule 56(1) of the Rules of Procedure. Our Committee adopted this opinion at its meeting of 4 February 2021. At that meeting, it decided to call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their draft recommendation.

 

Therefore, I hereby transmit the opinion of the LIBE Committee which consists of two parts: part A (General observations), including on Part I, Title III (institutional provisions), and part B (Thematic observations pertaining to each LIBE field of competence). In the latter part, it addresses issues falling within the competence of the LIBE Committee, firstly those clearly covered in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (hereinafter ‘TCA’): the protection of personal data, security, law enforcement cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, together with other relevant provisions of Part Three, which are covered in the TCA, as well as asylum, migration and border management and mobility arrangements, which are either only marginally covered in the text of the TCA or are not covered by it at all.

Yours sincerely,

Juan Fernando López Aguilar

 

SUGGESTIONS

A. General observations

1. Considers that the TCA seeks to provide a unique framework for a special relationship between the EU and the UK, duly taking into account the close relationship between the two Parties forged during the 47-year membership of the UK in the EU, and the fact that, since 1 February 2020, the latter has been a third country and the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) ended on 31 December 2020;

2. Deeply regrets the fact that the TCA has provisionally entered into application, thereby undermining Parliament’s right to scrutiny before providing its consent in accordance with Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);

3. Acknowledges that, in accordance with Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Commission represents the Union in its external relations; calls for Parliament to be authorised to attend meetings of the Partnership Council and other joint bodies set up by the TCA, such as the Specialised Committee on Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation; insists, in any event, that Parliament should have a role of scrutiny in the new institutional framework and be able to monitor the implementation of both the TCA and the WA; urges the swift establishment of a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly in which Members of the European Parliament would be able to monitor the implementation of the TCA and any future agreement, and make recommendations to the Partnership Council; insists further that the Commission must ensure that all information and documents related to any future meetings of the Partnership Council or other joint bodies are shared with Parliament on an equal footing with the Council, that Parliament is consulted by the Commission on the Union’s positions regarding all issues on the agenda of these meetings, and that the minutes and the documents adopted in these meetings be shared with Parliament depending on the matters in hand; notes that Parliament’s committees responsible are best placed to ensure that Parliament’s role in this regard is exercised in a fully transparent and effective manner; strongly insists that its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is kept fully informed and is consulted, in particular, as stated above, with regard to the work of the Specialised Committee on Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation;

4. Deplores the fact that the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information does not include Parliament[25] and the fact that the UK needs to give its express agreement for such information to be shared with Parliament;

5. Takes note of the Commission’s decision of 19 January 2021 to establish a Service for the EU-UK Agreement (UKS);

B. Thematic observations (Part Three of the TCA)

Fundamental rights and the rule of law, including suspension and termination provisions

6. Welcomes the inclusion, in the General provisions of Part Three (Article LAW.GEN.3) of the express reference to the ‘Parties’ and Member States’ long-standing respect for democracy, the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, including as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, and on the importance of giving effect to the rights and freedoms in that Convention domestically’; reminds the lead Committees that Parliament, in its resolutions of both 12 February 2020[26] and of 18 June 2020[27] (hereinafter ‘February and June 2020 resolutions’), considered continued adherence and giving effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as respect for the rule of law, as a necessary precondition for the EU’s cooperation with the UK; further welcomes the inclusion of specific termination, disapplication, suspension and dispute settlement provisions in the different Titles of Part Three, notably the provision on a more expedite termination of this Part (Article LAW.OTHER.136: Termination) in the event that the UK or a Member State denounces the ECHR, and the provision on the suspension of this Part (Article LAW.OTHER.137: Suspension) in the event of serious and systemic deficiencies within one Party as regards respect for fundamental rights, including the protection of personal data and the rule of law; stresses that Parliament, and its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in particular, should be fully involved in the intra-EU mechanism for deciding on termination and/or suspension on the basis of the relevant future interinstitutional arrangements; further deplores the fact that the dispute settlement mechanism provided in Part Three (Title XIII) is a political mechanism without any role for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU); strongly regrets the fact that the TCA does not envisage any role for Parliament, or for its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in particular, in the dispute settlement mechanism; calls on the Commission and the Council to provide for Parliament’s full involvement in deciding on the Union’s position on the different steps of the dispute settlement mechanism on the basis of the relevant future interinstitutional arrangements; calls on the Commission to present proposals for the procedure for launching the dispute settlement mechanism on the Union side, which fully involve Parliament; urges the Commission, as a minimum, and notwithstanding future provisions, to make a public political commitment, at the latest by the date of the Parliament’s vote on consent, to the effect that it will propose that the Council suspend, amend, or terminate parts or titles of the TCA if Parliament calls for suspension, amendment or termination; considers that Parliament’s consent should be sought before a decision is taken on amending or terminating the TCA by the Union, by analogous application of Article 218(6) of the TFEU, when the Commission takes the initiative to do so;

Data protection

7. Regarding data protection, shares the objective of the WA of ensuring the continuity of the protection afforded to individuals in the Union whose personal data will be processed in the United Kingdom after the date of the withdrawal;

8. Takes note of the commitment of the Parties (Article COMPROV.10) to ensuring a high level of personal data protection and the recognition that individuals have a right to protection of personal data and privacy, but regrets the fact that the Agreement was concluded before the Commission had finished its adequacy assessment of the UK’s data protection framework;

9. Also takes note of the unprecedented interim provision for the transmission of personal data to the United Kingdom (Article FINPROV.10A) for a period of four months – renewable once for two further months unless either the UK or the Commission object to this – which stipulates that such transmission must not be considered as transfer to a third country under Union law, provided that the data protection legislation of the United Kingdom in force on 31 December 2020 applies, and subject to the condition that the United Kingdom does not amend its data protection framework, its rules on international data transfers or other relevant non-binding texts unless the Union has given its agreement to such an intended amendment within the Partnership Council, including a tacit one if no objections are raised within five working days;

10. Notes that this interim provision is intended to continue the exchange of personal data flows while the Commission finalises its assessment of whether the level of protection provided by the UK legal framework on data protection is adequate, and subsequently adopts the relevant decisions; expresses, however, strong doubts as to whether this interim regime will provide the required level of protection to the personal data transferred to the UK, as it relies on the assumption that the UK data protection law currently in force has properly and correctly implemented Union data protection law, notably Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (‘GDPR’) and Directive (EU) 2016/680 (‘Law Enforcement Directive’), and that at present the UK ensures the same level of protection as set forth by the Union; recalls, in this regard, Parliament’s February and June 2020 resolutions, pointing out the general and broad exemption for the processing of personal data for immigration purposes of the UK Data Protection Act and the UK legal framework on the retention of electronic telecommunications;

11. Regarding the adequacy of the UK legal framework on data protection, also recalls Parliament’s February and June 2020 resolutions, stressing that, in line with the GDPR and the case law of the CJEU[28], in order to declare the adequacy of the UK data protection framework, the Commission must demonstrate that the UK provides a level of protection ‘essentially equivalent’ to that offered by the Union legal framework, including on onward transfers to third countries; furthermore, is of the view that the UK legal framework on the retention of electronic telecommunications data does not fulfil the conditions of the relevant EU acquis as interpreted by the CJEU, and hence does not currently meet the conditions for adequacy; considers that the general and broad exemption for the processing of personal data for immigration purposes of the UK Data Protection Act and the UK legal framework on the retention of electronic telecommunications data need to be amended before a valid adequacy decision can be granted;

12. Considers it necessary for the Commission to carefully assess the UK’s legal framework on data protection, including the UK’s international agreements on personal data transfers, such as the US-UK Data Access Agreement and the data protection and digital trade provisions in the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and to pay particular attention to the legal framework in the UK in the fields of national security and for the processing of personal data by law enforcement authorities; recalls that mass surveillance programmes encompassing bulk data collection might not be adequate under Union law, and strongly encourages the Commission to take into account the case law of the CJEU in this field such as the Schrems I and II and Privacy International[29] cases in its assessment, as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; also recalls the persistent violations of the Schengen Information System (SIS) by the UK authorities, and stresses that the Commission has failed to resolve these violations with the UK authorities in an adequate and timely manner; points out that, despite the fact that the TCA does not allow access to the SIS, these violations have demonstrated that the UK authorities could not be trusted with EU citizens’ data while it was still a Member State, and that, therefore, the UK should urgently solve these problems and demonstrate that it can be entrusted with the law enforcement cooperation granted by this agreement; stresses that an adequacy decision should not be granted as long as these violations have not been resolved;

13. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the UK has resolved the problems identified in this opinion prior to considering UK data protection law adequate in line with Union law as interpreted by the CJEU[30]; also calls for the opinion of the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor to be sought, and for them to be provided with all relevant information and appropriate timelines to fulfil their role; strongly believes that, should the UK legal framework on data protection not meet the conditions to be granted an adequacy decision, the Union should stress the need to use the alternative legal mechanisms provided in the Union data protection law on international transfers;

14. Also calls on the Member States’ data protection authorities to proactively follow the application of the interim regime and any subsequent steps, in order to contribute to continuous respect for Union data subjects’ rights;

Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

15. Welcomes the fact that law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters is part of one single agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, as underlined in Parliament’s resolution of 12 February 2020; takes note of the fact that a common agreement on future relations between the EU and the UK has been reached in the areas of exchange of DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration data, transfer and processing of passenger name record (PNR) data, cooperation on operational information, cooperation with Europol and Eurojust, surrender, mutual assistance, exchange of criminal record information, anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, freezing and confiscation, together with a specific clause for termination and suspension and a specific dispute settlement mechanism, and on enhanced cooperation on counter-terrorism (Article COMPROV.9) which stipulates that ‘the Parties shall cooperate at the bilateral, regional and international levels to prevent and combat acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in accordance with international law, including, where applicable, international counterterrorism-related agreements, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as well as in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations’; finds that the TCA provides the necessary basis for continuing cooperation in the area of law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters with the UK in the light of the latter’s new status as a non-Schengen third country to which freedom of movement does not apply;

16. Notes that the TCA establishes reciprocal cooperation between the competent law enforcement authorities of the UK and the Member States with regard to the automated transfer of all types of data under the Prüm legal framework (DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data and certain domestic vehicle registration data); indicates that this is the first EU international agreement allowing the exchange of these sensitive data with a third country; welcomes the fact that the Parties to the TCA have committed themselves to exchanging information on all domestically available DNA and dactyloscopic data, including the data of convicted and suspected persons, as the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs requested in the explanatory statement to its report A9-0100/2020 on the draft Council implementing decision on the launch of automated data exchange with regard to dactyloscopic data in the United Kingdom, on which Parliament has been consulted[31]; points out that, while it was a Member State, the UK did not participate in the automatic transfer of vehicle registration data under Union law and regrets the fact that such exchange has been agreed with the UK in its status as a third country under the TCA without Parliament having been consulted; insists that Parliament be duly informed of the outcome of the evaluation to be carried out in accordance with Article LAW.PRUM.18 (Ex ante evaluation); underlines the sensitivity of the exchanged data and the need to ensure a high level of data protection; further takes note of the fact that the TCA lays down a procedure for the amendment of this Title in view of possible future changes to the Union’s Prüm legal framework (Article LAW.PRUM.19.1);

17. Takes note of the arrangements establishing reciprocal cooperation on the exchange and processing of PNR data and a legal basis for the transfer of data by air carriers operating flights between the EU and the UK; welcomes the fact that these arrangements reflect the most recent case law of the CJEU in this area and include additional safeguards compared to existing agreements with other third countries; recalls that the Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime[32] is currently under legal scrutiny in three cases before the CJEU for possible unjustified interference with the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection[33]; is concerned, however, that Article LAW.PNR.20 (Purposes of the use of PNR data) introduces a special purpose use of PNR data applicable only to the UK – a risk of death or serious injury or a significant public health risk – which is not in keeping with the purposes of PNR exchange between Member States and which does not correspond to the country reciprocity principle; regrets, moreover, the fact that pursuant to Article LAW.PNR.28: Retention of PNR data the United Kingdom may derogate from its obligation to delete the PNR data of passengers after their departure from the country when a risk assessment indicates the need to retain such PNR data, and may do so on a temporary basis for an interim period of one year, extendable for another year, which might result in a situation where travellers’ data that is not needed for law enforcement purposes could be kept by the UK for up to three years prior to the application of the deletion obligation;

18. Points out that Title IV on cooperation on operational information does not allow for access to the SIS database as Parliament had insisted upon in its earlier resolutions; stresses that cooperation in this area includes provisions on the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities on wanted or missing persons and objects for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences and the execution of criminal penalties, the prevention of threats to public safety and the prevention and combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and a provision allowing the use of a secure communication line for the purpose of the provision of information through Europol, which will facilitate information exchange with the UK; points out that this title of the TCA allows for the conclusion of bilateral agreements between the UK and the Member States on condition that the Member States act in compliance with Union law; emphasises that in their relations with the UK in the area of law enforcement and judicial cooperation, it is important that the Member States adopt a unified and transparent approach;

19. Is satisfied with the fact that the TCA provides for close cooperation between the UK and Europol and Eurojust, which would be beneficial for both the UK and the Member States, since, owing to its geographical proximity and size, the UK will continue to be an important strategic partner of the EU in the fight against cross-border organised crime and in combating common security threats; highlights, in this context, that the TCA provides for the quickest possible exchange of information between a third country and Europol; notes that the TCA will be complemented by working and administrative arrangements to be agreed between Europol and Eurojust and the UK; in this context, calls on the parties to strive towards close cooperation, while respecting the technical and legal limits of such cooperation, as well as fundamental rights; underlines that its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will continue to closely monitor this process and the relevant aspects of practical cooperation through its oversight powers in relation to both EU agencies; is concerned that the Agreement allows the UK to transfer personal data to Europol not only for the purposes of processing set out in the Europol Regulation, but also for a purpose other than the purpose for which they have been provided if authorised by the transferring competent authority; takes note of the fact that transfers of personal data with Europol can be processed in respect of victims of criminal offences, witnesses or other persons who can provide information concerning criminal offences, and regrets the fact that the Agreement does not define the category of ‘other persons’ more precisely; expresses concern about the fact that Europol might be able to exchange personal data of non-suspects;

20. Welcomes the fact that the TCA contains provisions on a surrender procedure and on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing, which might lay the foundations for as close judicial cooperation in criminal matters as possible with the UK as a third country; expresses its satisfaction that an agreement has been found on the surrender procedure, thereby allowing closer and more efficient cooperation than if it had been based on the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition;

21. Commends the efforts made to supplement the Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters by specific provisions ensuring more effective cooperation between the Member States’ and the UK’s judicial authorities in criminal matters; welcomes the inclusion of a comprehensive definition of beneficial ownership in the TCA’s Title on anti-money laundering; welcomes the fact that the Parties have also agreed to include provisions on freezing and confiscation in the TCA, which will allow for closer cooperation than that provided for under the relevant Council of Europe instruments;

Asylum, migration and border management

22. Recalls its position in the February and June 2020 resolutions regarding future cooperation in asylum and migration policies between the UK and the Member States, reiterating that such cooperation ought to have at least contained arrangements that enhance safe and legal pathways for accessing international protection, including through family reunification, given that family reunification continues to be important for asylum seekers who reside in the UK and have families within the EU’s borders, and encouraging the adoption of a plan on family reunification, which should have entered into force after the transition period, in order to avoid any gaps leading to negative practical consequences for the people involved and with humanitarian impacts and to ensure respect for their right to family life in accordance with Article 8 of the ECHR; deplores, therefore, the fact that, although cooperation on tackling irregular migration was part of the revised political declaration and that, in the area of asylum, the Commission sought a mandate from the Council in line with its statement on asylum[34] following the relevant UK proposals, the prospect of EU cooperation with the UK in the area of asylum, migration and border management, an area where the Union has competence to act, and which affects the rights of the most vulnerable persons, has not materialised, and that this area of EU policy has now been left to bilateral cooperation, also in view of the Joint Political Declaration on Asylum and Returns; emphasises again that in their relations with the UK in the area of migration, it is important that the Member States adopt a unified and transparent approach towards the UK; calls on the Commission to follow up and regularly report to its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on how Member States apply the relevant Union laws in their relations with the UK, and ensure the consistency of their application; reminds the Member States and the UK of their obligation to protect all children on their territory, regardless of their status, relationship or family links, including unaccompanied minors, and to safeguard all children’s access to their right to protection, family life and well-being in the light of their best interests, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) of 2 September 1990; welcomes the UK’s unilateral measures to provide that unresolved requests for a transfer to the UK for family reunification will continue to be processed after 1 January 2021 (the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/745, Schedule 2, Part 3, paragraph 9); calls for the swift conclusion of an EU-UK agreement to replace the Dublin Regulation and deal with issues such as family reunification for asylum seekers or refugees, relocation or readmission arrangements; calls further on the Commission to contribute to the development of safe legal migration pathways and schemes between the EU and the UK; emphasises, in this context, that Member States with an external land or maritime border – created as a result of the UK leaving the EU – cannot be expected to act as border police on behalf of the UK; notes that no future cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the UK Border Force is provided for in the TCA and calls for clarification of the terms of such cooperation between the UK as a third country and Frontex through, as a minimum, future working arrangements or status agreements; stresses that such cooperation should comply with Union and international law, which remains applicable to the border between the UK and the EU, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Citizens’ rights and mobility

23. Stresses the crucial importance of the negotiations between the two Parties being aimed at full continuation of both Parties’ citizens’ rights and the rights of their family members, and that the residence schemes of both the UK and the Member States should be user-friendly, transparent and free of charge, in order to facilitate the process; recalls its February and June 2020 resolutions and reiterates that further provisions on citizens’ rights, including free movement for UK nationals in the Union based on a reciprocal approach, ought to have constituted a cornerstone and indivisible part of the text of a future international agreement between the EU and the UK; further recalls its insistence that any future mobility arrangements should be based on non-discrimination between the Member States and on full reciprocity; remains concerned about the situation of cross-border workers and recalls that their rights must be secured without delay; calls on the United Kingdom not to discriminate between EU citizens on the basis of their nationality, either in terms of registration in the EU settlement scheme, or in relation to mobility and visa issues, and to refrain from applying discriminatory visa prices to Member States’ nationals; calls on the Commission to strictly enforce the reciprocity principle;

24. Takes note, in this regard, of the work of the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights, and, more particularly, of its two joint reports on the implementation of residence rights; calls on the Commission to regularly report to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the implementation of Part Two of the WA, in particular as the deadlines for applying for the relevant UK and Member State schemes expire either in June or in December 2021, and several shortcomings and delays have been observed; is worried about the consequences for citizens of not meeting the relevant deadlines; recalls the need to fully respect the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts as stated in the WA, and urges the UK authorities to ensure that there is no diminution of rights for citizens in Northern Ireland; welcomes the provisions on visas for short-term visits, in particular the engagement of both Parties to provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits and the insertion of a non-discrimination clause between Member States in the event that the UK decides to impose a short-term visa requirement on a Member State’s nationals (Article VSTV.1, paragraphs 1 and 2); regrets the fact that the principle of the free movement of persons between the EU and the UK no longer applies, and is disappointed by the limited content of the TCA in the area of mobility outside the WA, as a result of the lack of engagement from the UK side;

 

°

° °

25. Calls, therefore, on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade, as the committees responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (COM(2020)08562020/0382(NLE)).

 

 

 


 

 

 

LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Mr David McAllister

Chair

Committee on Foreign Affairs

BRUSSELS

 

Mr Bernd Lange

Chair

Committee on International Trade

BRUSSELS

Subject: <Titre>Opinion on the Proposal for a Council Decision on the Conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information </Titre><DocRef>(COM(2020)08562020/0382(NLE))</DocRef>

Dear Chairs,

It is my pleasure to inform you that, further to the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 26 November 2020, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) decided on 27 January 2021 to submit an opinion in the form of a letter to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade under the procedure referred to above, pursuant to Rule 56(1) of the Rules of Procedure.

 

Our Committee adopted this opinion at its meeting of 4 February 2021[35], having decided to call on the aforementioned Committees, as the committees responsible, to include the following suggestions in its draft recommendation.

 

Therefore, I hereby forward the opinion of the AFCO Committee, which addresses the issues which fall within the competence of the AFCO Committee, and in particular the governance and institutional provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK.

 

Yours sincerely,

Antonio Tajani

 

SUGGESTIONS

General observations

 

On 24 December 2020, the EU and UK negotiators concluded the negotiations on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The TCA, the Agreement concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information, and Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252 of 29 December 2020[36] on the signing of both agreements, were published in the Official Journal on 31 December 2020 (L 444).

The conclusion of the TCA with the UK must be welcomed, as it is the result of the Union’s determination to establish a relationship with the UK that is as close as is possible with a neighbour country sharing many common interests with the EU. The conclusion of the TCA is in the interests of both the EU and the UK, and of both Parties’ citizens, consumers and businesses.

Parliament made clear its position on the principles and objectives of the negotiation on a future partnership, notably in its resolution of 12 February 2020 on the proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[37], and in its recommendation of 18 June 2020 on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[38].

 

Provisional application of the TCA

 

Article FINPROV.11(2) (Entry into force and provisional application) of the TCA provides that the parties agree to provisionally apply the TCA from 1 January 2021 until 28 February 2021, or until another date as decided by the Partnership Council.

As stated by Parliament’s Conference of Presidents on 28 December 2020, the decision on the provisional application was solely due to the unique and specific circumstances of the conclusion of the TCA, as it had become inevitable in order to mitigate the disruption for citizens and businesses and to prevent the chaos of a no-deal scenario. The AFCO Committee, in line with the Conference of Presidents, underlines that this specific provisional application can neither constitute a precedent nor reopen established commitments made among EU institutions, and that it cannot serve as a blueprint for future consent procedures.

We regret that the time given for Parliament to perform scrutiny of the TCA is insufficient to allow proper in-depth parliamentary scrutiny of an agreement of the nature and complexity of the TCA. Furthermore, we express our concern that the translation of the TCA into 24 official languages will in all likelihood prove impossible before the expiry of the provisional application period, possibly leading to a situation where the Council cannot adopt the Decision on the conclusion of the TCA immediately after consent is voted on in Parliament on 23 February 2021.

In its resolutions and in its exchanges with the Commission, Parliament has consistently reiterated the importance of its scrutiny role in the consent procedure and of the need to be fully involved at all stages of the negotiation procedure for the TCA with the UK, in accordance with the Treaties and with relevant case law of the Court of Justice. The commitments made by the Commission in this regard in the past should also be recalled.

 

Single governance system - the role of Parliament

 

We welcome the establishment, as advocated by Parliament in previous resolutions, of a single governance system as an overarching framework applicable to the relationship with the UK as a whole, covering the joint continuous supervision and management of the TCA and supplementing agreements. However, we regret the complexity of this system, which includes a wide variety of different governance mechanisms and dispute settlement arrangements.

In its resolution of 12 February 2020, Parliament considered that the design of the governance arrangements should be commensurate with the nature, scope and depth of the relationship, and take account of the level of interconnection, cooperation and proximity of the Parties, while ensuring an effective and efficient application of the entire future agreement. In a Union founded on the principle of democracy, and given the depth and breadth of the TCA, which is not a standard TCA, Parliament’s role in its implementation is even more relevant, and must be further reinforced.

Furthermore, Parliament has consistently reiterated its rights to be involved and fully informed at all stages of the implementation of any TCA between the EU and the UK, including its review. Thus in its resolution of 12 February 2020, Parliament also underlined that EU representatives on any governing body responsible for overseeing the implementation of an TCA between the EU and the UK should be subject to appropriate accountability mechanisms involving Parliament.

However, neither the TCA provisions on governance nor Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252 of 29 December 2020, come anywhere close to satisfying these requirements and demands regarding Parliament’s involvement in the governance structures and mechanisms. Indeed, the TCA’s provisions in terms of parliamentary scrutiny and oversight are manifestly insufficient.

Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252 provides that the Commission will ensure that the Council receives all the information and documents related to any meeting of the Agreement joint bodies or to any acts to be adopted by written procedure in advance of that meeting, or usage of written procedure. However, although the TCA was concluded as an ‘EU-only’ agreement, which should justify an enhanced role for Parliament, it is merely to ‘be put in a position to exercise fully its institutional prerogatives throughout the process in accordance with the Treaties’ (Article 2(3) of Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252), while Member States have an automatic right to participate in the delegations to meetings of the Partnership Council and in other joint bodies (Article 2(1) second subparagraph of Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252).

According to Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252, the TCA has an exceptional and unique character as a comprehensive agreement with a country that has withdrawn from the Union. This unique character and the principle of sincere cooperation between institutions as recognised by recital 11 of this Council Decision require effective involvement of Parliament in the implementation of an agreement which confers sweeping powers on the joint bodies it creates.

In order to respect the role of Parliament as co-legislator and its scrutiny powers, we therefore call for a detailed and unequivocal commitment from the Commission through an interinstitutional agreement providing for:

 Parliament’s full involvement in the preparation of the EU positions on amending the TCA to be taken by the Partnership Council;

 Parliament’s thorough and timely information ahead of and following all decisions of all joint bodies under the TCA;

 Parliament’s consent to all decisions involving substantial modification of the TCA, in line with Article 218 of the TFEU, or concerning suspension and termination of obligations and other measures under the TCA if these concern matters that are part of its competences under the Treaties, such as in ensuring a level playing field;

 Commitment by the Commission to take action through the instruments at its disposal where Parliament identifies breaches of the TCA, and in case the Commission does not follow Parliament’s position, to explain the reasons for which it did not;

 Including Parliament’s representatives in EU delegations to meetings of the Partnership Council and of other joint bodies established under the TCA.

 

We therefore call on the Commission to solemnly confirm its commitment to ensuring that Parliament is immediately and fully informed, in line with Article 218(10) of the TFEU, about the work of the Partnership Council and the Specialised Committees established by the TCA. We stress the importance of the Parliament being informed on the same footing as Council in order to be able to fully exercise its institutional prerogatives.

 

Single governance system - specific institutional provisions

 

Reference should be made to specific governance provisions, such as Article INST.5 (Parliamentary cooperation) of the TCA, providing for the possibility of the European Parliament and the UK Parliament establishing a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly. As mentioned in Parliament’s resolution of 18 June 2020, we welcome this proposal, but deeply regret that it is not a binding provision. AFCO reaffirms its commitment to parliamentary cooperation with the UK parliament on matters pertaining to the implementation of the TCA, as expressed in the letter of 21 January 2021 from President Sassoli to Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the UK House of Commons.

Moreover, according to the provisions of Article INST.5 of the TCA, the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly may request information from the Partnership Council, and must be informed of the decisions and recommendations of the Partnership Council. However, the Specialised Committees established under the TCA, which will have wide powers in relation to its implementation, are not included in this provision, thus raising serious issues of transparency regarding their functioning.

We note that the TCA is covered by provisions on dialogue with and consultation of civil society organisations, including through the establishment of domestic advisory groups, to be consulted regularly on issues covered by the TCA and any supplementing agreement, and therefore call for stronger measures to involve civil society organisations.

Given that Article INST.8 of the TCA stipulates that the Parties shall facilitate the organisation of a Civil Society Forum that shall meet at least once a year, we believe that Parliament should urge the Commission to make sure that the Partnership Council adopts the operational guidelines for the conduct of the Forum as soon as possible, so that civil society can prepare in time for the meeting in 2021.

 

Dispute settlement

 

In its resolutions Parliament pointed out that the dispute settlement mechanism needs to be transparent and robust, that it should provide for gradual sanctions as well as remedies when it has been determined that one of the parties is in breach of its obligations, and that the mechanism would need to ensure effective, rapidly actionable and dissuasive remedies.

We welcome the fact that the TCA establishes a binding general dispute settlement system, although certain areas are excluded from its scope. For these, specific dispute settlement or enforcement mechanisms will apply, in line with the usual practice in similar international agreements.

We note that for the areas excluded from the general dispute settlement system there are differentiated enforcement arrangements responding to different needs, depending on the area in question. These include dedicated dispute settlement mechanisms (Part Three: law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters), no dispute settlement mechanism as such (Chapter five: Taxation, Title XI: level playing field for open and fair competition and sustainable development), or domestic enforcement by the authorities and courts of each of the Parties (Chapter three: subsidy control, Title XI: level playing field for open and fair competition and sustainable development), and remedial and rebalancing measures, as well as suspension and termination possibilities in case of breach of obligations by the other Party.

We reiterate that Parliament should be involved in the preparation of EU decisions regarding such measures with a major impact on the implementation of the TCA, and underline in particular that Parliament must be placed on an equal footing with the Commission and the Council for the selection process of the arbitration tribunal.

 

The role of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU)

 

In its resolutions, Parliament has consistently considered that an agreement between the EU and the UK should be in strict concordance with, among others, the principles of preservation of the autonomy of the EU’s decision-making and of safeguarding the EU legal order, and the role of the CJEU as the ultimate body responsible for interpreting EU law. In this regard, Parliament considered that, for provisions based on EU law concepts, the governance arrangements should provide for a referral to the CJEU.

We regret that the TCA gives virtually no role to the CJEU, in spite of the fact that in the Political Declaration, to which both Parties agreed, the Parties committed to ensure that the arbitration panel would refer to the CJEU for a binding ruling in cases where a dispute between them raised a question of interpretation of concepts of EU law.

We understand that for texts of the TCA that are close to EU law concepts, the full dispute settlement procedure will not be applied in order to avoid the arbitration tribunal interpreting EU law — this includes law enforcement and social security issues. However, the interpretation of these concepts will be based on the common understanding of the relevant provisions as agreed by the joint bodies governing the implementation of the TCA. This may indeed raise issues regarding the uniform interpretation of concepts of EU law, as matters currently resolved in national courts under EU law or by the CJEU will have to be settled by political agreement either in the committees set up under the TCA or by the arbitration tribunal.

Article COMPROV.13 provides that the TCA is to be interpreted in line with public international rules. Therefore, given that there are several modalities for the application and enforcement of the TCA’s provisions, including through domestic authorities and courts, consistent and uniform interpretation may be jeopardised.

 

Link with the Withdrawal Agreement

 

We welcome Article FINPROV.2 (Relationship with other agreements) of the TCA, which makes clear the relationship of the TCA with the Withdrawal Agreement.

We emphasise that the Withdrawal Agreement is a stand-alone, independent agreement. We reiterate that the effective and full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement remains a priority. As the responsible committee, AFCO endeavours to closely monitor the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. We stress that it is Parliament’s established position that the full and loyal implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement by the UK constitutes an essential precondition for the future development of the relationship between the EU and the UK, in particular, in the area of citizens’ rights and the Protocol on Northern Ireland.

We recall that the TCA paves the way for an open-ended relationship between the EU and the UK that can evolve further towards a deeper and more ambitious partnership in the future. We thus reiterate that good faith and trust continue to play an essential role in the overall relationship between the EU and the UK, and are preconditions for the future strengthening of the EU-UK partnership, which is in the interest of both parties.

 

Conclusion

 

The AFCO Committee calls for a detailed and unequivocal commitment from the Commission through an interinstitutional agreement providing for:

 Parliament’s full involvement in the preparation of the EU positions on amending the TCA to be taken by the Partnership Council;

 

 Parliament’s thorough and timely information ahead of and following all decisions of all joint bodies under the TCA;

 

 Parliament’s consent to all decisions involving substantial modification of the TCA, in line with Article 218 of the TFEU, or suspension and termination of obligations and other measures under the TCA if these concern matters that are part of its competences under the Treaties, such as ensuring a level playing field;

 

 Commitment by the Commission to take action through the instruments at its disposal where Parliament identifies breaches of the TCA, and in case the Commission does not follow Parliament’s position, to explain the reasons for which it did not;

 

 Including Parliament’s representatives in EU delegations to meetings of the Partnership Council and of other joint bodies established under the TCA.

 

The AFCO Committee believes that the above-mentioned methods of involving Parliament should be laid down before the conclusion of the consent procedure in an interinstitutional agreement in line with Rule 148 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Council Decision (EU) 2020/2252 of 29 December 2020 should be amended with a view to placing Parliament and the Council on an equal footing with regard to the receipt of information and the participation in the governance structures established by the TCA, allowing Parliament to properly exercise its role in scrutinising and overseeing the implementation of the TCA.

The AFCO Committee calls on the AFET and INTA Committees, as the committees responsible, to recommend that Parliament gives its consent to the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information.


 


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information

References

05022/2021 – C9-0086/2021 – 2020/0382(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent

26.2.2021

 

 

 

Committees responsible

 Date announced in plenary

AFET

8.3.2021

INTA

8.3.2021

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

 Date announced in plenary

DEVE

8.3.2021

BUDG

8.3.2021

CONT

8.3.2021

ECON

8.3.2021

 

EMPL

8.3.2021

ENVI

8.3.2021

ITRE

8.3.2021

IMCO

8.3.2021

 

TRAN

8.3.2021

REGI

8.3.2021

AGRI

8.3.2021

PECH

8.3.2021

 

CULT

8.3.2021

JURI

8.3.2021

LIBE

8.3.2021

AFCO

8.3.2021

 

FEMM

8.3.2021

PETI

8.3.2021

 

 

Not delivering opinions

 Date of decision

BUDG

14.1.2021

FEMM

1.2.2021

PETI

26.1.2021

 

Rapporteurs

 Date appointed

Andreas Schieder

7.1.2021

Christophe Hansen

7.1.2021

 

 

Previous rapporteurs

Christophe Hansen, Kati Piri

Rule 58 – Joint committee procedure

 Date announced in plenary

 

8.3.2021

Discussed in committee

14.1.2021

28.1.2021

4.2.2021

5.2.2021

Date adopted

15.4.2021

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

108

1

4

Members present for the final vote

Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Barry Andrews, Maria Arena, Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Petras Auštrevičius, Traian Băsescu, Tiziana Beghin, Lars Patrick Berg, Anna Bonfrisco, Geert Bourgeois, Saskia Bricmont, Reinhard Bütikofer, Jordi Cañas, Daniel Caspary, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Susanna Ceccardi, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Miroslav Číž, Katalin Cseh, Arnaud Danjean, Paolo De Castro, Tanja Fajon, Anna Fotyga, Emmanouil Fragkos, Michael Gahler, Giorgos Georgiou, Sunčana Glavak, Raphaël Glucksmann, Markéta Gregorová, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Márton Gyöngyösi, Roman Haider, Andrzej Halicki, Christophe Hansen, Heidi Hautala, Danuta Maria Hübner, Sandra Kalniete, Karin Karlsbro, Karol Karski, Dietmar Köster, Stelios Kouloglou, Maximilian Krah, Andrius Kubilius, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Bernd Lange, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Nathalie Loiseau, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Jaak Madison, Lukas Mandl, Thierry Mariani, Margarida Marques, Gabriel Mato, Sara Matthieu, Emmanuel Maurel, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Sven Mikser, Francisco José Millán Mon, Gheorghe-Vlad Nistor, Urmas Paet, Demetris Papadakis, Kostas Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Manu Pineda, Giuliano Pisapia, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, Samira Rafaela, Jérôme Rivière, Inma Rodríguez-Piñero, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Massimiliano Salini, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Andreas Schieder, Helmut Scholz, Liesje Schreinemacher, Radosław Sikorski, Sven Simon, Jordi Solé, Sergei Stanishev, Tineke Strik, Dominik Tarczyński, Hermann Tertsch, Mihai Tudose, Kathleen Van Brempt, Hilde Vautmans, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Harald Vilimsky, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, Thomas Waitz, Jörgen Warborn, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Charlie Weimers, Iuliu Winkler, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Salima Yenbou, Jan Zahradil, Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez

Substitutes present for the final vote

Katarina Barley, Vladimír Bilčík, Marco Campomenosi, Bart Groothuis, Andrey Kovatchev, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Mounir Satouri, Joachim Schuster, Pedro Silva Pereira

Date tabled

22.4.2021

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEES RESPONSIBLE

108

+

EPP

Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Vladimír Bilčík, Traian Băsescu, Michael Gahler, Glavak Sunčana, Andrzej Halicki, Sandra Kalniete, Andrey Kovatchev, Andrius Kubilius, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Lukas Mandl, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Francisco José Millán Mon, Gheorghe‑Vlad Nistor, Radosław Sikorski, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Daniel Caspary, Arnaud Danjean, Christophe Hansen,  Danuta Maria Huebner, Gabriel Mato, Massimiliano Salini, Sven Simon, Jörgen Warborn, Iuliu Winkler, Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez

S&D

Maria Arena, Katarina Barley, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Miroslav Číž, Paolo De Castro, Tanja Fajon, Raphaël Glucksmann, Dietmar Köster, Bernd Lange, Margarida Marques, Sven Mikser, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Giuliano Pisapia, Inma Rodríguez-Piñero, Isabel Santos, Andreas Schieder, Joachim Schuster, Sergei Stanishev, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Pedro Silva Pereira, Mihai Tudose, Kathleen Van Brempt

RENEW

Barry Andrews, Petras Auštrevičius, Jordi Cañas,  Katalin Cseh, Bart Groothuis, Klemen Grošelj, Karin Karlsbro, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Urmas Paet, Samira Rafaela, Liesje Schreinemacher, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Hilde Vautmans, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne

ID

Lars Patrick Berg, Anna Bonfrisco, Marco Campomenosi, Susanna Ceccardi, Roman Haider, Maximilian Krah, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Jaak Madison, Thierry Mariani, Jérôme Rivière, Harald Vilimsky,

GREENS/EFA

Saskia Bricmont, Reinhard Bütikofer, Markéta Gregorová, Heidi Hautala, Sara Matthieu, Mounir Satouri, Jordi Solé, Tineke Strik, Viola Von Cramon‑Taubadel, Thomas Waitz, Salima Yenbou,

ECR

Geert Bourgeois, Anna Fotyga, Emmanouil Fragkos, Karol Karski, Jacek Saryusz‑Wolski, Dominik Tarczynski, Hermann Tertsch, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Charlie Weimers, , Jan Zahradil

The Left

Stelios Kouloglou, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Helmut Scholz

NI

Tiziana Beghin, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Márton Gyöngyösi, Carles Puigdemont I Casamajó

 

1

-

NI

Kostas Papadakis

 

4

0

RENEW

Bernard Guetta

The Left

Giorgos Georgiou, Emmanuel Maurel, Manu Pineda,

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

[1] Texts adopted, P9_TA-PROV(2020)0033.

[2] Texts adopted, P9_TA-PROV(2020)0152.

[3] OJ L 444, 31.12.2020, p. 14.

[4] OJ L 444, 31.12.2020, p. 1463.

[5] The following Members were present for the final vote: Adrián Vázquez Lázara (Chair), Sergey Lagodinsky (Vice-Chair), Marion Walsmann (Vice-Chair), Ibán Garcia Del Blanco (Vice-Chair), Raffaele Stancanelli (Vice-Chair), Manon Aubry, Gunnar Beck, Geoffroy Didier, Pascal Durand, Angel Dzhambazki, Jean-Paul Garraud, Esteban González Pons, Heidi Hautala, Mislav Kolakušić, Gilles Lebreton, Antonius Manders, Karen Melchior, Javier Nart, Jiři Pospíšil, Franco Roberti, Ernő Schaller-Baross, Marcos Ros Sempere, Stéphane Séjourné, Marie Toussaint, Axel Voss, Lara Wolters, Tiemo Wölken, Javier Zarzalejos.

[6] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0033.

[7] OJ L 58, 27.2.2020, p. 53.

[8] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0152.

[9] OJ L 29, 31.1.2020, p. 7.

[10] OJ C 384I , 12.11.2019, p. 178.

[11] OJ L 444, 31.12.2020, p. 2.

[12] See to that effect: Opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 18 December 2014, Accession of the European Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – Compatibility of the draft agreement with the EU and FEU Treaties, c-2/13, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2454, paragraph 184.

[13] Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making, OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.

[14] Framework Agreement of 20 November 2010 on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.

[15] Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.

[16] Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.

[17] The following were present for the final vote: Tomas Tobé (Chair and rapporteur for opinion), Pierrette Herzberger‑Fofana (1st Vice-Chair), Norbert Neuser (2nd Vice-Chair), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (3rd Vice-Chair), Erik Marquardt (4th Vice-Chair), Anna‑Michelle Asimakopoulou, Hildegard Bentele, Dominique Bilde, Udo Bullmann, Catherine Chabaud, Antoni Comín i Oliveres, Gianna Gancia, Charles Goerens, Mónica Silvana González, György Hölvényi, Rasa Juknevičienė, Beata Kempa, Janina Ochojska, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Michèle Rivasi, Christian Sagartz, Marc Tarabella, Patrizia Toia, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Bernhard Zimniok.

[18] Political declaration of 17 October 2019 setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, OJ C 384I , 12.11.2019, p. 178.

[19] European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on competition policy – annual report 2019, texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0158.

[20] Norway has a bilateral agreement with Eurofound and pays to be included in the European Working Conditions Survey, participating since 2000 (previous four editions). It also participated in the second edition of the European Quality of Life Survey in 2007–2008. Norway also acts as observer for the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on Eurofound’s Governing Board. Furthermore, Eurofound maintains a Network of European Correspondents covering all EU Member States plus Norway, which provides expert national input relevant for the European debate. Via the network, Eurofound’s European Restructuring Monitor also monitors the employment impact of large-scale restructuring events, restructuring support instruments and restructuring-related legislation in the EU Member States and Norway.

[21] The following were present for the final vote: Anna Cavazzini (Chair, rapporteur for opinion), Andrus Ansip (Vice-Chair), Maria Grapini (Vice-Chair), Maria Manuel Leitão Marques (Vice-Chair), Adam Bielan, Carlo Fidanza, Eugen Jurzyca, Beata Mazurek, Alessandra Basso, Markus Buchheit, Miroslav Radačovský, Marco Zullo, Pablo Arias Echeverría, Deirdre Clune, Christian Doleschal, Krzysztof Hetman, Arba Kokalari, Andrey Kovatchev, Antonius Manders, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Andreas Schwab, Tomislav Sokol, Ivan Štefanec, Edina Tóth, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Dita Charanzová, Sandro Gozi, Svenja Hahn, Morten Løkkegaard, Alex Agius Saliba, Brando Benifei, Biljana Borzan, Evelyne Gebhardt, Adriana Maldonado López, Leszek Miller, Christel Schaldemose, Kateřina Konečná, Anne-Sophie Pelletier, Alexandra Geese, Claude Gruffat, Marcel Kolaja, Kim Van Sparrentak, Hynek Blaško, Virginie Joron and Jean-Lin Lacapelle.

[22]Regulation (EU) 2020/2222 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 December 2020 on certain aspects of railway safety and connectivity with regard to the cross-border infrastructure linking the Union and the United Kingdom through the Channel Fixed Link (OJ L 437, 28.12.2020, p. 43).

Decision (EU) 2020/1531 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2020 empowering France to negotiate, sign and conclude an international agreement supplementing the Treaty between France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning the Construction and Operation by Private Concessionaires of a Channel Fixed Link (OJ L 352, 22.10.2020, p. 4).

[23] See the European Parliament resolution of 11 September 2018 on the impact of EU cohesion policy on Northern Ireland, OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 2.

[24] See point 23 of the proposed framework for an EU-UK legal instrument setting out Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, agreed informally by Spain and the UK on 31 December 2020.

[26] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0033.

[27] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0152.

[28] Judgment of 6 October 2015, C-362/14, Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, ECLI:EU:C:2015:650.

[29] Judgment of 6 October 2020, C-623/17, Privacy International v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2020:790.

[30] Judgment of 6 October 2015, C-362/14, Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, ECLI:EU:C:2015:650; Opinion 1/15 of 26 July 2017, PNR Canada, ECLI:EU:C:2017:592; Judgment of 8 April 2014, Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland Ltd v Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Commissioner of the Garda Síochána Ireland, EU:C:2014:238; Judgment of 21 December 2016, Joined Cases C-203/15 and C-698/15, Tele2 Sverige AB v Post- och telestyrelsen and Secretary of State for the Home Department v Tom Watson and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2016:970; Judgment of 6 October 2020, Joined Cases C-511/18, C-512/18, C-520/18, La Quadrature du Net and Others v Premier ministre and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2020:791; and Judgment of 6 October 2020, C-623/17, Privacy International v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2020:790.

[31] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0068.

[32] OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 132.

[33] See Case C-817/19, Ligue des droits humains v Conseil des ministres.

[34] Commission statement on asylum, Annex D to the Council Decision on the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom.

[35] The following were present for the final vote: Antonio Tajani (Chair), Gabriele Bischoff (Vice-Chair), Charles Goerens (Vice-Chair), Giuliano Pisapia (Vice-Chair), Damian Boeselager, Geert Bourgeois, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Leila Chaibi, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Daniel Freund, Esteban González Pons, Sandro Gozi, Brice Hortefeux, Laura Huhtasaari, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (for Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz), Maite Pagazaurtundúa (for Pascal Durand), Paulo Rangel, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Helmut Scholz, Pedro Silva Pereira, László Trócsányi, Mihai Tudose, Guy Verhofstadt, Loránt Vincze, Rainer Wieland.

[36] Decision (EU) 2020/2252 of 29 December 2020 on the signing, on behalf of the Union, and on provisional application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, and of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information (OJ L 444, 31.12.2020, p. 2).

[37] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0033.

[38] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0152.

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