Motion for a resolution - B8-0241/2017Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union

31.3.2017 - (2017/2593(RSP))

to wind up the debate on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union
pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Gabriele Zimmer, Martina Anderson, Barbara Spinelli, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, Liadh Ní Riada, Kateřina Konečná, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Paloma López Bermejo, Rina Ronja Kari, Patrick Le Hyaric, Martina Michels, Cornelia Ernst, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Marisa Matias, Eleonora Forenza, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Tania González Peñas, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Miguel Urbán Crespo on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0237/2017

Procedure : 2017/2593(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 8 of the TEU,

–  having regard to Title II (‘Provisions on Democratic Principles’) of the TEU,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Special Meeting of the European Council held in Dublin on 28 April 1990,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2014 on the Northern Ireland peace process[1],

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas any Member State has the right to withdraw from the EU by democratic means;

B.  whereas the United Kingdom is a multinational state and all its peoples deserve the same respect;

C.  whereas free movement of Irish and British nationals between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain predates by several decades accession to the then EEC by both countries in 1973; whereas bilateral agreements between the UK and Ireland may be helpful in finding amicable solutions concerning the future relationship between the EU and the UK;

D.  whereas the Scottish Parliament has voted to hold a referendum on Scottish independence;

E.  whereas peace in Ireland could be threatened by the return of any kind of border between the north and south of the island; whereas the Good Friday Agreement includes a balance of three strands – relationships within the north of Ireland, between Belfast and Dublin, and between Dublin and London;

F.  whereas barriers to trade, both tariff and non-tariff, of any nature on the island of Ireland would have serious implications for long established all-island industries and processing routes;

G.  whereas the agri-food industry in Ireland operates in a highly integrated manner with many sectors being completely all-island in nature; whereas the return of border controls in Ireland, including origin checks, import licence requirements, documentation and additional paperwork, as well as physical border checks, will pose a serious threat to this sector both north and south; whereas the removal of tariff-free access for fish and fish products could pose a serious threat to fishers, producers and complementary sectors across the whole island of Ireland; whereas failure to guarantee historical reciprocal access for all-island fishers would be detrimental north and south;

H.  whereas the impact of Brexit will hit Ireland particularly hard, as removing the north of Ireland from the single market and customs union will cause huge political, social and economic damage to the whole island of Ireland, if not mitigated by arrangements addressing issues of mobility, rules of origin and cumulation;

I.  whereas more than 12 000 jobs are at stake for EU frontier workers working in Gibraltar, with potential socially and economically devastating effects for Gibraltar and the neighbouring region of Spain if not mitigated by similar arrangements;

J.  whereas the democratic deficit has increased as a result of the policies and options of the EU, and this constitutes an enormous problem, with many citizens feeling they are not represented by the institutions; whereas this can only be addressed through radical policy changes, transparency, openness and the defence of the values of democracy, peace, tolerance, progress, solidarity and cooperation among peoples;

K.  whereas Brexit particularly affects the around 1.2 million British people living in other EU Member States and over 3 million nationals of EU Member States living in Britain, not including the 1.8 million people in the north of Ireland who are legally entitled to Irish citizenship, and by virtue of that to EU citizenship;

L.  whereas the UK remains bound by international law and must continue to fulfil its obligations with regard to international treaties to which it is signatory, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;

M.  whereas without a bilateral trade agreement, WTO bound tariff rates of both the EU and the UK would mutually apply;

N.  whereas the EU has already shown that it is possible to find pragmatic arrangements for dealing with complex territorial situations;

I. General Principles

1.  Acknowledges and respects the fact that a majority of voters across Britain voted to leave the EU;

2.  Acknowledges and respects the fact that majorities of voters in the north of Ireland and in Scotland voted to remain in the EU;

3.  Believes that the interests of all the UK’s constituent parts should be protected and that their political representatives must be included in the negotiations;

4.  Rejects any kind of pressure or blackmail during the negotiation process; highlights the fact that neither the triggering of Article 50 nor other provisions in the Treaties should be used to create unwarranted obstacles to the implementation of a decision to leave the EU; highlights the need to conduct the negotiations in the most open and collaborative way possible, in accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary obstacles to the achievement of agreed outcomes;

5.  Rejects any attempts to use security and defence issues as a bargaining chip for agreements on other negotiating chapters;

6.  Underlines that the consent of the European Parliament to the results of the upcoming negotiations is only legitimate if Parliament’s vested information rights are respected at all stages of the negotiations and legitimate EP representatives can actively participate in the processes of elaboration of the EU’s positions; calls at the same time for the corresponding processes of elaboration of the EP’s positions to be firmly anchored in the work of Parliament;

7.  Insists that no EU-UK agreements lead to lower standards, including inter alia environmental, social, workers’ rights and consumer standards in the Member States and/or the EU; equally insists that EU-UK agreements neither undermine financial stability by facilitating liberalisation of financial services nor include obligations to liberalise public services;

8.  Expresses its willingness to reach a fair agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK in the interests of all those living in the different jurisdictions;

II. Withdrawal agreement

II.1 Rights

9.  Believes that it is of paramount importance to swiftly and unconditionally provide legal certainty to nationals of EU Member States living in the UK and British people living in other Member States on the basis of reciprocity and non-discrimination;

10.  Considers that such rights include, but are not limited to: the right of residence; the right to equal treatment; social rights; the right to access public services, including healthcare; the right to exportability of social security benefits; the right to family reunification; the mutual recognition of academic diplomas and professional qualifications, including the continuation of Erasmus programmes at their current level; and mobility for students, academics and performers;

11.  Calls, with regard to social security coordination, for a continuation clause on Regulation 883/2004 and Implementing Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 as well as Regulation (EC) No 859/2003 in order to safeguard current rights until agreement on the future EU-UK relationship has been reached; urges the Member States and the UK to sign and ratify the European Convention on Social Security (ETS No 078);

12.  Calls on the EU institutions and the UK Government to create, within three months, legal arrangements aimed at preserving and safeguarding the rights and legal status of citizens of EU Member States and UK nationals who have exercised the right to freedom of movement according to the EU Treaties and Directive 2004/38/EC; asks for these arrangements to be introduced directly and in detail in the withdrawal agreement and to be transposed into the framework for the future relationship;

13.  Calls for particular attention to be paid to the mobility of workers (mobile workers, cross-border workers and frontier workers), with a particularly strong focus on and understanding of the unique situations existing in Ireland and Gibraltar; believes that a solution also needs to be found with regard to posted workers;

II.2 Finances

14.  Believes that the first step towards a financial settlement agreement between the UK and the EU should consist notably of defining the methodology to apply when determining the EU’s common liabilities and assets and the UK’s share thereof; including payments relating to the UK’s share of outstanding commitments;

15.  Considers that, for funds and programmes whose financial term extends beyond the foreseen date of the UK’s departure from the EU, UK commitments should be maintained in a way which does not put the programmes at risk, until the UK leaves the EU; considers that, in the event that the UK decide to participate in EU programmes, it will continue to assume its financial commitments;

II.3 Ireland

16.  Notes that, since the Good Friday Agreement was ratified and power-sharing restored in 2007, the European Union has been an important partner for peace in Ireland, providing substantial political support and financial aid, which has led to greater economic and social progress on an all-island basis;

17.  Notes the obligation of the EU to protect the guarantees of the Good Friday Agreement including the political institutions, human rights guarantees, all-Ireland bodies, and the constitutional and legal right of the people to exercise their right to self-determination;

18.  Recognises that under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement there is an inherent right for those born on the island of Ireland, north and south, to Irish or British citizenship, or both, and by virtue of the right to Irish citizenship, to citizenship of the EU as well;

19.  Calls for the north of Ireland to be designated a special status within the EU which ensures it maintains access to EU membership, the customs union, the single market and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; further calls for the maintenance of the four freedoms of movement of goods, people, services and capital;

20.  Calls for the ongoing realisation of the right of citizens in the north of Ireland to avail of Irish, and by consequence EU citizenship; further calls for the rights and responsibilities associated with EU citizenship to be upheld;

21.  Calls for the maintenance of future funding streams as a central part of consolidating and advancing the peace process;

22.  Calls, as fundamental to any agreement, for the common travel area between the UK and Ireland to be fully respected and upheld;

23.  Insists on the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements;

24.  Understands that the island of Ireland may undergo serious and significant social and economic transformations as a result of any future deal between the EU and the UK; calls for the EU to do all in its power, politically and economically, to mitigate and ameliorate the negative impacts which may affect the island of Ireland;

25.  Believes it necessary for the EU to acknowledge Ireland’s interests in the face of any aggression from Britain in relation to the territorial disputes surrounding Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle;

III. Transitional arrangements

26.  Recalls that, until the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement, the UK is fully part of the EU, enjoying the rights and abiding by the obligations deriving from its membership, also with regard to sincere cooperation and to ensuring that the UK will not block decisions which will not affect it;

27.  Deems it appropriate, in order to safeguard legal certainty and the rule of law, to provide in the withdrawal agreement for transitional arrangements to regulate the scope, enforcement and legal remedies with regard to the judgments and decisions adopted by the EU Courts (General Court and Court of Justice), during the withdrawal negotiations, concerning infringements of EU law likely to have a prolonged impact - exceeding the negotiating period - on human rights and fundamental freedoms;

28.  Considers that the UK leaving the EU should have as little impact as possible on the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the associated annual budgetary procedures; underlines that the cohesion and structural funds should be fully safeguarded;

29.  Underlines the need for the EU to seek a transitional agreement with the UK, following the withdrawal agreement, in order to prevent the disruption of trade routes during such time as the future trade relationship is being negotiated, taking into account the interests of each Member State and third countries;

30.  Underscores the importance of transitional arrangements to ensure that participants in education or training courses (whether undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, apprenticeships or other forms of vocational training) or participating in mobility or exchange programmes at the point when the UK formally ceases to be a Member State, are able to complete those courses or programmes under the same financial and legal conditions as when they began them;

IV. Future relationship

31.  Believes that the future relationship between the EU and the UK should be built on the principles of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

32.  Stresses that the mandate for the new agreement to be negotiated with the UK should include a democracy and compulsory human rights clause, including all the legal obligations which are compulsory for all agreements with third countries;

33.  Believes that UK withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights would make any future cooperation in the area of civil liberties, justice and home affairs extremely difficult; therefore strongly urges the UK to maintain its membership of the European Convention on Human Rights;

34.  Considers that particular attention should be paid to the protection of personal data, keeping in mind the wide range of areas it relates to; calls therefore on both negotiating parties to preserve, as a minimum, the current common standards developed at the European level while avoiding any attempt to resort to new and ad hoc frameworks; therefore there should be no derogation from the updated data protection regulations;

35.  Believes that the future relationship should, as a minimum, be based on common standards in a range of areas, including the environment, food safety, financial regulation, workers’ rights and social rights; further believes that under no circumstances should such standards fall below those currently existing in the EU;

36.  Underlines that EU standards in terms of combating tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering should be a strict condition for any agreement between the EU and the UK; further believes that under no circumstances should such standards fall below those currently existing in the EU;

37.  Believes that any decision by the Commission to grant equivalent status as regards financial markets regulation to any third country should be scrutinised by the European Parliament;

38.  Is concerned at the fact that a number of multinational corporations currently based in the UK have announced their intention to relocate to a state within the EU common market in case of the return of higher tariffs, non-tariff barriers to trade and rules of origin restrictions between the UK, the EU and third countries; condemns the pressures and blackmail promoted by corporations in the economic and financial field whose main intention is to complicate a Member State’s decision to withdraw from the EU; expresses solidarity with the struggle of all workers in defence of their jobs and rights;

39.  Stresses that a trade agreement is not an adequate framework to address issues of regulatory cooperation between EU and UK; emphasises that the future trade and economic relationship cannot replicate the approach taken in CETA and TTIP as this would freeze, or further diminish, EU or UK standards in order to maintain ‘regulatory convergence’; insists on ensuring that the financial sector is well supervised and regulated to the highest possible standards in the future in both the EU and the UK; recalls its rejection of current EU free trade policies and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in any form in bilateral trade agreements; demands that protecting workers’ rights and the environment must be a major pillar of the future economic relations between the EU and the UK;

40.  Points out the need to mitigate the impact of the UK leaving the European Union for developing countries that used to export to the UK under the EU Generalised System of Preferences; encourages the UK Government to prepare for establishing a similar system of trade preferences for developing countries;

41.  Takes the view that bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade agreements in force will need to be reviewed taking into account the new situation, to avoid legal uncertainty and consequently issues in the relations with third countries; underlines the need to change or renegotiate agreements with third countries in this process and to make social and environmental progress and cooperation the new focus of these agreements in order to address the economic and social problems that contributed to the Brexit decision; points out that in particular, market access quotas agreed in existing trade agreements in the agriculture sector need to be lowered and adjusted to the realities of present-day trade flows between partners and the EU-27.

42.  Stresses the importance of the UK as a trading partner for the Irish agri-food sector, accounting for over 50 % of agri-food exports for some sectors and over 40 % of agri-food imports; stresses, furthermore, the potential negative impact of Brexit on the fishing industry;

43.  Stresses that any future agreement with the UK needs to prevent social dumping; therefore urges the UK to follow the example of Ireland and to sign and ratify the revised Social Charter and the Additional Protocol for a System of Collective Complaints;

44.  Supports the continued cooperation of the UK with the EU in a range of areas, including education, research and science, healthcare, energy, environmental protection and food safety; further supports the continued involvement of the UK in projects for the safeguarding of smaller European languages through various EU programmes; believes that the continued involvement of the UK in various EU programmes should be based on a fair financial contribution being made to these programmes;

45.  Believes that a future cooperation agreement should also cover the financial terms for the possible participation of the UK in structures and agreements outside the EU budget such as the European Development Fund, Trust Funds and the European Investment Bank;

46.  Believes that each Member State should have a right to develop relations with the United Kingdom based on the principles of mutual interest, friendship between peoples and cooperation between sovereign states, having due regard to the final agreement between the EU and the UK;

V. Related issues

47.  Believes that Ireland’s representation in EU bodies should be adjusted to take into consideration Irish/EU citizens in the north of Ireland;

48.  Underlines the need for specific measures by the EU and all concerned parties in the areas of their respective competence to ensure support for the regions which will be particularly affected;

VI. Another Europe

49.  Believes that there is a need for a fundamental policy shift away from the policies currently pursued by the EU and supported by many Member States, towards policies that create sustainable economic growth and full employment and aim to combat poverty, social exclusion and income inequalities within and among Member States;

50.  Stresses that Brexit should be seen as a challenge and a task for building another Europe; considers that it shows that a Europe of equals, social progress and peace is necessary and must be built with the agreement and participation of the peoples and citizens, and equal rights between Member States;

51.  Calls for an end to the EU’s austerity policies, including by repealing the Fiscal Compact; calls instead for public investment in the real economy that focuses on the creation of decent, secure jobs, for active policies against inequality and poverty, and for the promotion of public control and decentralisation of the banking sector;

52.  Encourages the Commission to examine the steps required for accession of the EU to the revised European Social Charter and to propose a timeline for this objective; believes these steps should be taken in order to develop the revised European Social Charter into one of the fundamental pillars of the EU;

53.  Believes that Europe should ensure the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, solidarity between Member States bolstering upward social and economic convergence, and cohesion between people and territories;

54.  Rejects the European Security Strategy and its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and steadfastly opposes EU-UK cooperation in these domains; demands an end to EU-NATO cooperation and rejects the current expansionist policy of NATO; further demands the removal of all foreign military bases in Europe and the dissolution of NATO; rejects a European Defence Union; insists that Brexit should not serve as an excuse for an increase in military expenditure, and therefore opposes increasing Member State budgets for security and defence; rejects any use of the EU budget for military or civil-military purposes; insists that the Member States should work for peace;

VII. Final Provisions

55.  Calls for the European Parliament to be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure for negotiating and concluding international agreements, as enshrined in Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, ensuring that Parliament is in a position to exercise democratic scrutiny and decide on the agreement;

56.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to take Parliament’s position into consideration when defining the negotiating mandate, and to make the mandate public;


o  o

57.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of all Member States.