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Debates
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Preparation of the European Council meeting of 19 June 2020 - Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Kati Piri, Rapporteur. – Mr President, 204 days: that is the time we have left to reach a deal on our future relationship with the United Kingdom. We are now halfway through the transition period, we have held four rounds of negotiations, and it seems we have reached a stalemate. What is needed now is an injection of new energy and dynamism: a paradigm shift in these talks. And although the joint declaration of last Monday didn’t give us many clues, in this House we all hope that the high-level meeting did just that: create a new dynamism.

For this Parliament, a comprehensive agreement means guarantees on fair competition with clear social, environmental and labour protection, and this is what Prime Minister Johnson and the EU signed up to only months ago in the political declaration. None of this should be in any way controversial. With zero tariffs, zero quotas, comes – logically – zero dumping. An ambitious and comprehensive future partnership is in the best interest of both the UK and the EU citizens.

We, of course, welcome the latest enthusiasm and euphoria of Prime Minister Johnson and his drive to finalise a deal within six weeks – but the Prime Minister did not explain how. We very much look forward to hearing the details on that.

Over the past few months, the European Parliament has shown its commitment and has taken its responsibility in reaching this deal. With the UK Coordination Group, two lead committees and 17 opinion-giving committees, we have developed a unique and unprecedented procedure for the report, prepared by Christophe Hansen and myself, that reflects how serious we take our role as the European Parliament. Our President this week took part in the high-level meeting to also present our position, and I’m proud to say that Parliament stands united on a strong text with a clear political message. And that message is simple: yes, we want a deal, but we will not simply consent to just any deal. Our consent is conditional on the UK Government’s adherence to its own commitments. The UK must respect the political declaration and ensure the full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Let me be very clear: the UK’s expectation to keep the benefits and rights of a Member State, without agreeing to any obligations, is not realistic. It’s only logical that, if you want to have access to the market of 450 million citizens, this will come with conditions. The UK Government made a conscious decision to leave the Single Market. We respect this, but so should the United Kingdom, and without a level playing field and fisheries, there cannot be a trade agreement.

I do not see a divide between the people of the United Kingdom and those of the European Union. The division I see is between those that have a vision and seek a comprehensive deal, and a UK Government that backtracks on its commitment and continues to put ideology over the interests of its own people. The way forward is clear: we stand united in our demand for an ambitious and comprehensive future partnership with clear conditions and red lines, as formulated. The European Union is united and continues to stand ready to negotiate in good faith: constructively, as an honest broker. Our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has our full support, and we hope that finally the time has come for Mr Johnson and the UK Government to join us and deliver. We are ready.

 
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