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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

Debates
XML 234k
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

4. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement - The outcome of EU-UK negotiations (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca, in discussione congiunta,

– la raccomandazione della commissione per gli affari esteri e della commissione per il commercio internazionale sulla proposta di decisione del Consiglio relativa alla conclusione, a nome dell'Unione, dell'accordo sugli scambi commerciali e la cooperazione tra l'Unione europea e la Comunità europea dell'energia atomica, da una parte, e il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna e Irlanda del Nord, dall'altra, e dell'accordo tra l'Unione europea e il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna e Irlanda del Nord sulle procedure di sicurezza per lo scambio e la protezione di informazioni classificate (05022/2021 - C9-0086/2021 - 2020/0382(NLE))

– le dichiarazioni del Consiglio e della Commissione sull'esito dei negoziati tra l'Unione europea e il Regno Unito (2021/2658(RSP))

 
  
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  Ana Paula Zacarias, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, after a very intensive four—year period, we have now reached the point where the EU—UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) can be formally approved, an agreement that protects European interests and ensures fair competition as well as continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest. This will allow us to enter into a new phase of our relations with the United Kingdom.

It is clear that there are still issues to be settled in terms of the full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Portuguese Presidency has followed the situation in Northern Ireland very closely. We are very concerned with the resurgence of sectarian violence in recent months and fully support the efforts to reach out to stakeholders in all communities. The EU must remain committed to the Good Friday Agreement and to the people of Northern Ireland. Implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is a fundamental step in bringing stability to the EU—UK relationship. This must be a joint endeavour with no room for unilateral actions.

I share some of the same concerns that have been raised by the European Parliament and also by the Commission in this regard. The UK’s lack of compliance with the Withdrawal Agreement is indeed not acceptable, but we know that the Commission has taken legal and political steps to bring the UK into full compliance, and we support this Commission’s effort. We also share the analysis of the Commission that retaliation measures available to the EU to react to non—compliance from the UK side become faster and sharper with a Trade and Cooperation Agreement. We can therefore also from our side confirm that the Council is ready to swiftly adopt the Agreement should the European Parliament vote its consent today.

This has been a priority of the Portuguese Presidency. The conclusion of the TCA will give legal certainty to the EU—UK relationship in the interests of citizens and businesses. After the full entry into force of the Agreement, we will have to remain vigilant and united in its implementation. EU unity, including amongst the institutions, has been key to the success of the negotiations. Good cooperation between the institutions will equally be crucial in going forward.

The European Parliament’s role has been important throughout the whole process and its engagement, notably on citizens’ rights, has proved very useful. I trust that the European Parliament will continue engaging in the years to come as a crucial element of the new relationship with the UK. The European Parliament will remain fully informed and involved, in accordance with the EU Treaties.

In the interests of the Union and to build a stable and solid relationship with the UK, a neighbour and an old ally that we value as an important partner, we would welcome the commitment of the European Parliament to the timely entry into force of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement by 1 May 2021.

 
  
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  Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission. – Mr President, dear Minister, cher Michel Barnier, honourable Members, it is now just over four years since the UK’s letter triggering its withdrawal from the European Union was ceremoniously handed over after its journey from London to Brussels. Looking back, that event now feels like a theatrical footnote of Brexit history, and part of the reason it feels so distant is because so much has happened between the EU and the UK since then.

But when preparing for today’s debate, I thought I would take the time and read the letter itself. And rather to my surprise, it actually helped to offer some perspective and some cautious positivity both about what today’s vote entails but also about our future relationship.

I say that because the letter reminds us of the unique nature of our partnership, forged together over decades and built around our shared values and history. It also made the case for a special partnership that, and I quote: ‘contributes towards the prosperity, security and global power of our continent’. And what struck me most was the way it laid out the sheer scale of the task ahead of both sides – just how much we had to do and how complex it was going to be. It finished by saying, and I quote again: ‘The task before us is momentous – but it should not be beyond us’.

Standing here today, we can all agree it was indeed a momentous task, carried out with the highest stakes on the line. And I want to take this opportunity to once again thank Michel Barnier – our Chief Negotiator – for guiding us through this task.

In these four years, we saw a lot of change, whether in Presidents or Prime Ministers, in red lines and deadlines, or in different definitions of what Brexit really means. But when all is said and done, what you are voting on today is momentous in terms of what it represents and in terms of what it secures. It represents the unity, responsibility and solidarity within the European Union to protect the interests of our citizens and our Union.

In the last months, we have often talked about what the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is not, and what it does not do. But as this House prepares to have the final say, I want to recall what this Agreement is, what it does, and why it is so important to make it work.

Firstly, this Agreement protects European citizens and their rights. It helps to avoid significant disruptions for workers and travellers, from the fishing community to the business community. Second, it protects European interests and it preserves the integrity of our Single Market. It guarantees the robust level playing field that this House always prioritised – rightly so. And it ensures high levels of protection on everything, from social and labour rights to environmental protection, from tax transparency to state aid – you name it. And third, this agreement comes with real teeth – with a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for unilateral remedial measures where necessary.

Let me be very clear: we do not want to have to use these tools. But we will not hesitate to use them if necessary. They are essential to ensure full compliance with the TCA and with the Withdrawal Agreement, which were both negotiated in such fine detail – and agreed by both sides.

Honourable Members, on this point of compliance, I know that there was some reluctance in different parts of the House on whether it is right to ratify this Agreement when existing commitments are not being respected by one side. I agree with you that this Agreement on paper is only as good as implementation and enforcement in practice, and I share the concerns you have on unilateral actions taken by the United Kingdom since the Agreement came into provisional application.

We have, obviously, seen a number of issues arise since then. Some were to be expected, others are teething issues, and many are the consequence of the type of Brexit the UK chose. But regardless of the reasons, we need to focus on joint solutions. Unilateral decisions will get us nowhere. And this is one of the reasons ratification is so important. It will give us the tools we need to ensure full and faithful compliance with the obligations which both sides signed up to, and it will also focus minds on finding pragmatic solutions where they are needed – most urgently around the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

And on this front, I am glad to report some progress on the work being led by Vice-President Šefčovič as Co-Chair of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. In recent days and weeks, we have seen a new, constructive dynamic, and we will continue to work closely with the UK to find constructive solutions that respect what was agreed.

The next step is to mutually agree on compliance paths, with concrete deadlines and milestones. To support this process, Vice-President Šefčovič will continue to engage with all stakeholders in Northern Ireland, to listen to their concerns and to see what needs to be done. We need solutions, not soundbites, if we are to make the Protocol work for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.

This is the commitment and responsibility we all took when we agreed to the Protocol. And the European Union is steadfast in its determination to make it work.

Honourable Members, I want to stress the importance of proper parliamentary scrutiny to ensure the UK fully delivers on its commitments. This House has a long history of protecting and supporting the people and the peace on the island of Ireland. In just a couple of weeks, it will be 40 years since a little-known report adopted by this House put that commitment into motion. At first glance, the so-called Martin Report – adopted at the height of the hunger strike – may appear an unremarkable housing, social and regional policy report. But thanks to the leadership of John Hume in particular, it ensured for the first time that the question of peace and prosperity of Northern Ireland was seen as an explicit issue for the European Union.

This was the beginning of an enduring commitment of this House to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland. And as John Hume himself used to say: ‘There are no easy answers, no quick-fix solutions’. This is why your continued support and scrutiny will be so important for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and in particular on the Protocol. And I want to assure you that this parliamentary involvement will also be there for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

In this spirit, the Commission has today set out its commitments in a Declaration. We will ensure that Parliament is immediately and fully committed and informed of the activities of different committees and councils established by the Agreement. We will ensure that Parliament is involved as appropriate and necessary whenever important decisions are taken under the Agreement. And we will submit a proposal for a legislative act to regulate how autonomous EU measures should be adopted. This is part of our much wider commitment to ensure a continuous and comprehensive dialogue on all aspects of that deal.

Honourable Members, we know it will not always be easy, and there is a lot of vigilance, diligence and hard work ahead of us. But while today’s vote is obviously an end, it is also the beginning of a new chapter. The choice is now whether today’s vote will be the high watermark of the EU-UK relations for the next decades, or whether we see this as the foundation of a strong and close partnership based on our shared values and interests.

Only history will tell what road is taken, although I hope for the latter. But either way, this Agreement is essential to help us move forward. And either way, the task will be just as momentous as it was in that letter four years ago.

So, to finish on the words of the great British poet, William Wordsworth: ‘Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.’

Long live Europe!

(Applause)

* * *

Commission statement on the role of the European Parliament in the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

(in writing)

[Articles of the TCA have been updated to the new consecutive numbering retained in the authenticated versions of the TCA]

The Commission, without prejudice to its own prerogatives and those of the Council, intends to give full effect to the European Parliament’s prerogatives according to the Treaties in 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 EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement).

In particular, in line with Article 218(10) TFEU, the Commission will ensure that the European Parliament is immediately and fully informed of the activities of the Partnership Council, the Trade Partnership Committee, the Trade Specialised Committees and the other Specialised Committees established by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, subject to the necessary arrangements in order to preserve confidentiality. The information will, as a general rule, be provided to Parliament also through the responsible parliamentary committee and, where appropriate, at a plenary sitting. In duly justified cases, the information will be provided to more than one parliamentary committee. The information concerns the briefing and debriefing before and after meetings of the joint bodies as well as sharing all documents pertaining to meetings of these joint bodies at the same time the Commission shares them with the Council. This includes draft agendas, proposals for Council decisions establishing the Union positions in these bodies, draft decisions of such bodies, as well as minutes of their meetings. The co-chair of the Partnership Council representing the Union will also inform the European Parliament on a regular basis.

These working modalities are continuing the practice developed in the context of the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union and are based on the objective of ensuring a high level of transparency and sincere cooperation between the Union institutions.

Moreover, the Commission considers that, given the exceptional character of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, an adequate involvement of the European Parliament is necessary when important decisions are taken under the agreement in relation to:

- the unilateral termination by the Union of the agreement or parts thereof;

- the notification by the Union of the wish to enter into negotiations with a view to concluding an updated Protocol on Social Security Coordination in accordance with Article SSC.70 [Sunset Clause] of the Protocol on Social Security Coordination;

- the intention to negotiate an amendment of the agreement following a review under Article 411 [Rebalancing] of the agreement or following the review of the agreement to be carried out every five years as foreseen in Article 776 [Review].

In relation to these decisions, the Commission will inform the European Parliament sufficiently in advance of its intention to present a recommendation or a proposal, and of the gist of its envisaged recommendation or proposal. The Commission will take utmost account of possible comments of the European Parliament in that respect. It also commits, in case it does not follow the position of the European Parliament, to explain the reasons for which it did not.

Furthermore, the Commission recalls that the cooperation provided for in Part Three [Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters] of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is based on 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, as well as on a long-standing commitment to ensuring a high level of protection of personal data. For the European Parliament to be in a position to exercise fully its institutional prerogatives in accordance with the Treaties, the Commission commits to inform the European Parliament sufficiently in advance of its intention to present a proposal for a decision by the Union as follows:

- decision to terminate Part Three [Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters] of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in accordance with Article 692(2) [Termination] thereof in the event that the United Kingdom denounces the European Convention on Human Rights or Protocols 1, 6 and 13 thereto;

- decision to suspend Part Three [Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters] of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, in accordance with Article 693 [Suspension] thereof in the event that the United Kingdom no longer gives effect to the European Convention on Human Rights domestically, notably in such a way as to no longer allow the Convention to be effectively relied upon by individuals before its domestic courts;

- decision to suspend Part Three [Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters] of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in whole or in part, in accordance with Article 693 [Suspension] thereof and to consider whether a temporary solution in accordance with Article 693(7) thereof can be put in place in order to avoid the suspension taking effect or to reduce its scope, until a new adequacy decision may be adopted by the Commission in accordance with Article 45 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 or Article 36 of Directive (EU)2016/680, as the case may be, in the event that an adequacy decision taken by the Commission with respect to the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 45 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 or in accordance with Article 36 of Directive (EU)2016/680 ceases to apply, notably if it is repealed or suspended by the Commission or invalidated by a final court decision.

In addition, as regards the selection process leading up to the establishment of lists of potential arbitrators and panellists by the Partnership Council and the Trade Specialised Committee on Level Playing Field for Open and Fair Competition and Sustainable Development, pursuant to respectively Articles 752 [Lists of arbitrators] and 409 [Panel of experts] of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement the European Parliament will be invited to nominate one of the members of the selection panel established by the Commission in order to assist the Commission in the selection of candidates to be proposed to the Council.

It should also be recalled that with regard to the autonomous measures that the Union is entitled to take on the basis of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the Commission is committed to submit to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal for a legislative act regulating the modalities for adopting such measures. The Commission will inform the European Parliament, as appropriate, of its intention to adopt autonomous measures. Moreover, the Commission will take the utmost account of the views expressed by the European Parliament regarding the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement by both Parties, as well as its review and ensuing modifications by the Parties. When examining complaints as well as any other information at its disposal in relation to possible breaches of the Agreement or to imbalances in the level playing field, the Commission will take due account of the views of the European Parliament as per paragraph 5 of the Statement by the Commission and the Council on the monitoring and implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Commission will also keep the European Parliament fully informed of the Commission’s assessments and decisions concerning data adequacy, as well as of the arrangements for regulatory cooperation with the UK authorities on financial services and the possible granting of equivalences in financial services.

The Commission recalls that these working modalities have to be seen in the context of the exceptional character of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which is a comprehensive agreement with a country that has withdrawn from the Union, and do not constitute a precedent for any other agreements.

 
  
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  Michel Barnier. – Monsieur le Président, cher David, Madame la Présidente de la Commission, chère Ursula, chère Ana Paola, Mesdames, Messieurs, tout d’abord, Monsieur le Président, je voudrais vous dire un mot personnel de remerciements pour cette invitation exceptionnelle. Je suis conscient de cet honneur, mais je suis en plus très heureux de vous retrouver, sincèrement.

Nous sommes, avec votre vote d’aujourd’hui, au bout d’une très longue route que nous avons parcourue ensemble depuis quatre ans et demi, depuis le vote du Brexit par une majorité de citoyens britanniques et depuis cette lettre qu’évoquait Ursula von der Leyen, qui a déclenché la procédure de l’article 50. Je me souviens à cet instant de beaucoup de moments forts dans votre assemblée démocratique: la résolution du Parlement, le 5 avril 2017, où vous fixiez très tôt les objectifs, les enjeux et les principes de la négociation; le vote sur le retrait, le 29 janvier 2020; et je n’ai pas oublié le moment émouvant où vous avez dit au revoir à tous vos collègues britanniques, ni toute la discussion que nous avons eue sur la nouvelle relation.

Ce que montrent tous ces moments-là et bien d’autres entre les plénières – les réunions de commissions, les réunions de vos groupes, les réunions hebdomadaires du groupe de pilotage sur le Brexit ou du groupe de coordination –, tout cela montre la vigilance, l’attention, le sérieux, la confiance du Parlement qui ne se sont jamais démentis. Je pense qu’avec l’unité des 27 à laquelle nous avons travaillé quotidiennement, cette confiance et cette vigilance du Parlement européen ont été l’une des grandes forces de l’Union dans cette négociation – je vous le dis comme votre ancien négociateur.

Voilà pourquoi je veux vous remercier, d’abord vous, Monsieur le Président, cher David, ainsi que vos prédécesseurs, Martin Schulz et Antonio Tajani, puis chacun et chacune des présidents de groupe, les présidents de commission, évidemment chacune et chacun des membres du groupe de pilotage sur le Brexit et son président, Guy Verhofstadt, et chacune et chacun des membres du groupe de coordination, avec David McAllister, ainsi que toutes les équipes administratives qui vous ont accompagnés, et les interprètes du Parlement, évidemment. Ensemble, nous avons vu tout au long de ces quatre ans et demi une méthode, un objectif, une perspective.

La méthode était très claire: la transparence, la vigilance, le dialogue – ici, bien sûr, mais aussi dans chacune des capitales avec les gouvernements, les chefs d’État et de gouvernement, les syndicats, les communautés économiques, la société civile, la transparence. Cela a été l’une des clés de l’unité et de la confiance auxquelles nous sommes parvenus, les uns avec les autres.

L’objectif a toujours été de bâtir une nouvelle relation avec le Royaume-Uni, malgré le Brexit, et de faire en sorte que ce divorce – un divorce est toujours négatif – soit le plus ordonné possible à travers ces deux traités.

Puis nous avons eu une perspective, ou plutôt, Mesdames et Messieurs les députés, trois points de perspective que je voudrais rappeler télégraphiquement. D’abord, ceci a été votre priorité et la mienne aussi: les citoyens, les droits des citoyens et, parmi ces citoyens, ceux qui vivent en Irlande. En Irlande, il ne s’agit pas d’abord de commerce, de marchandises ou de technique, il s’agit d’hommes et de femmes, il s’agit de la paix qui est très fragile. Voilà pourquoi je pense, comme l’a dit la présidente de la Commission, qu’il est très important qu’en Irlande, parce qu’il s’agit de la paix, chacun prenne ses responsabilités. Je sais, car je travaille avec lui depuis longtemps, que Maroš Šefčovič assumera cette responsabilité au nom de la Commission, et je l’en remercie. Chacun doit assumer sa responsabilité et respecter sa signature. C’est une question qui touche la paix, c’est une question qui concerne la confiance durable entre le Royaume-Uni, l’Irlande et, naturellement, toute l’Union européenne.

Le deuxième point de perspective, c’est le marché unique, ce principal atout dans la compétition globale qui nous permet de nous faire respecter, de défendre nos intérêts, nos valeurs, que nous n’avions pas le droit de fragiliser et que nous n’avons pas fragilisé. Il fallait aussi que les Britanniques, parce qu’ils ont choisi le Brexit, assument eux-mêmes les conséquences très nombreuses, souvent mal expliquées ou sous-estimées, du choix qu’ils ont fait de quitter le marché unique.

Le troisième point de perspective est celui de notre relation durable avec ce grand pays ami, voisin, partenaire qu’est le Royaume-Uni. Il y a tellement de risques et de défis devant nous qu’il faut préserver cet esprit de coopération. J’ai souvent pensé à ce que disait Jo Cox, cette jeune députée britannique, lorsqu’elle prononça son premier discours devant la Chambre des communes en parlant du Royaume-Uni (mais je pense que ce qu’elle disait s’applique aussi aux relations entre le Royaume-Uni et l’Union européenne):

‘We have far more in common than that which divides us.’

«Nous avons beaucoup plus en commun que ce qui nous divise». Voilà pourquoi nous avons toujours envisagé cette négociation difficile, très difficile quelquefois, dans la perspective, au-delà de la conjoncture, la perspective durable de l’avenir et de notre relation.

Juste pour terminer, Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs les députés: le Brexit, c’est un divorce, c’est un avertissement et c’est un échec de l’Union européenne. Nous devons en tirer les leçons en tant qu’hommes et femmes politiques, ici au Parlement, à la Commission, au Conseil, dans chacune des capitales. Pourquoi 52 % des Britanniques ont-ils voté contre l’Europe? Il y a des raisons à cela: la colère sociale, qui existe dans beaucoup de régions chez eux comme chez nous, dans l’Union. Notre devoir est d’écouter, de comprendre ce sentiment populaire – je répète qu’il ne faut pas confondre le sentiment populaire, cette colère sociale, avec le populisme –, et il faut donc tout faire pour y répondre dans chacun de nos États membres au niveau de l’Union, continuer à démontrer la valeur ajoutée de ce que nous faisons ensemble, assurer les moyens de notre prospérité, de notre indépendance, de notre sécurité. Ce sera l’un des enjeux de la future conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe qui s’ouvre dans quelques jours.

Voilà mon message, au moment de vous parler pour la dernière fois à cette tribune, grâce à vous, Monsieur le Président – en tout cas de vous parler pour la dernière fois sur ce sujet. Cela a été, Mesdames et Messieurs, soyez—en assurés, un vrai privilège pour moi et pour l’équipe de la Commission européenne de travailler avec vous, avec chacune et chacun de vos groupes, quelles que soient vos sensibilités, tout au long de ces années, un privilège de travailler dans un climat de confiance, de respect mutuel et souvent, je le crois, d’amitié entre nous.

Merci. Beaucoup.

(Applaudissements prolongés)

 
  
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  Presidente. – Grazie, grazie al signor Barnier. Grazie per il suo lavoro e per avere sempre dimostrato grande attenzione nei confronti del Parlamento.

 
  
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  Andreas Schieder, Berichterstatter. – Herr Präsident, Frau Präsidentin, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren! Der Brexit ist ein großer, schwerer Fehler. Und wer zahlt den Preis für diesen Fehler? Die Schwachen in der Gesellschaft. Jene, die tagtäglich zur Arbeit gehen und sich Sorgen um ihre Zukunft machen. Nicht zahlen den Preis die Millionärinnen und Millionäre, die auch so viel Geld in diese Kampagne für den Brexit investiert haben. Aber man muss auch die Entscheidung einfach zur Kenntnis nehmen – nach so vielen Jahren.

Daher ist heute auch der Tag, um nach vorne zu schauen. Das Europäische Parlament stimmt über dieses TCA, das Handels- und Kooperationsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union und dem Vereinigten Königreich, ab, auch weil es in dieser Situation die beste Option ist. Dieses Post-Brexit-Abkommen ist ein starkes Fundament, um die negativen Auswirkungen des Brexit für Beschäftigte, für die Umwelt, aber auch für die Wirtschaft abzuschwächen – und es ist nicht das Ende, es ist auch ein Anfang. Wir schaffen damit nämlich auch die Grundlage für ein faires Verhältnis, welches eben nicht ohne klare Regeln geht.

Wie ich schon gesagt habe: Es ist ein Fehler, aber wir müssen es akzeptieren und respektieren. Daher geht es um Schadensbegrenzung; und man muss auch klar sagen: Wir hätten als Europäische Union engere Beziehungen bevorzugt, aber das war nicht möglich, denn gerade der britischen Regierung und den Tories ging es nur um eines – nämlich Brexit um jeden Preis. Was man damit anfangen soll, das wusste niemand, und sie selber – und auch die heutige britische Regierung – oft nicht so genau.

An dieser Stelle möchte ich mich auch bedanken bei Herrn Barnier, der so viele Jahre die Verhandlungen geleitet hat, bei Maroš Šefčovič, der jetzt die Aufgabe hat, eingefrorene Beziehungen wieder aufzutauen, bei meiner Kollegin Kati Piri, die vor Kurzem ins holländische Parlament gewechselt ist und diese Verhandlungen auch auf Seite des Europäischen Parlaments geführt hat, genauso wie bei den vielen anderen Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus dem Europäischen Parlament. Mit dieser Arbeit ist jetzt auch die Grundlage geschaffen worden, Rahmenbedingungen für eine bessere Option vielleicht zu schaffen.

Und dieses Abkommen schützt unsere eigenen Interessen. Es zielt darauf ab, fairen Handel und Wettbewerb zu schaffen zwischen der EU und dem UK. Es wahrt die hohen EU-Standards – es wahrt die Sozialstandards, die Verbraucherschutzstandards, es beachtet die Klimaziele des Pariser Abkommens, und es ist auch eine Fortsetzung der Kooperation im Bereich Forschung wie z. B. im Programm Horizon Europe.

Was bleibt zu tun? Vieles. Es gibt erheblichen Verbesserungsbedarf, und für Millionen Britinnen und Briten und tausende, zehntausende Europäerinnen und Europäer, die im UK leben, heißt doch der Brexit, dass sie enorme Sorgen und Unklarheit haben. Der französische Fischer, die polnische Studentin, die im UK studiert, die britische Band, die vielleicht in Europa auftreten will, das deutsche Start-up, das Kooperationen machen will – all die sind durch den Brexit auch in ihrer Lebensgrundlage bedroht und in Sorge.

Eines muss man aber auch klar sagen: Während die britische Seite immer wieder ins alte Verhaltensmuster zurückfällt, muss unsere Botschaft ganz klar sein: Eindeutige Verstöße gegen das Austrittsabkommen sind untragbar. Eine Partnerschaft funktioniert nur dann, wenn sich beide Seiten auch an die Abmachungen halten. Das sehen wir auch gerade in Nordirland, wo der Brexit – dieser Fehler – sich jetzt auch in Gewalt äußert. Das ist sehr zu bedauern, und unsere Aufgabe ist es auch zu schauen, dass dieses Friedensabkommen von Nordirland weiterhin Bestand hat und in der Realität bestehen bleibt.

Wir als Europäisches Parlament – und da bin ich auch der Kommissionspräsidentin dankbar –, wir wollen unsere Rolle ganz klar in diesem Prozess einnehmen: wachsam zu sein, zu schauen und in den kommenden Jahren auch bei der Umsetzung und Implementierung die Stimme der Bürgerinnen und Bürger Europas zu sein. Das ist, glaube ich, ganz wichtig, dass diese Interessen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger, auch auf beiden Seiten des Kanals, so stark berücksichtigt werden.

In the end this cannot be stressed enough. Brexit is a historic mistake. It was pushed through by irresponsible nationalism based on false promises and short-sightedness. Brexit is bad for Britain and Brexit is bad for Europe. The price is not paid by the Conservative millionaires, but by the most vulnerable people in our society – the unskilled workers, the single parents, the people who deliver our parcels and our food. And our message must be for them: we haven’t forgotten about you, it’s not over, we will see each other again. The United Kingdom is part of Europe, and its future place, and the place also of the people of the United Kingdom, will be among friends in the European Union.

Jetzt, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, müssen wir schauen, dass das auch Realität wird.

 
  
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  Christophe Hansen, rapporteur. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le vice-président, Madame la secrétaire d’État, permettez-moi de commencer par remercier sincèrement Michel Barnier qui est parmi nous aujourd’hui. Michel, tu as fait un travail extraordinaire, tu étais à la tête de la task force de négociation du Brexit et tu as garanti, surtout, la force de l’Union européenne, son unité sans précédent sous ta direction. J’espère que l’on retrouvera la même unité pour d’autres dossiers, pour nos relations avec d’autres pays tiers partenaires. Merci beaucoup, Michel, pour tout ce que tu as fait pour l’Union européenne.

Today the European Parliament has the regrettable duty to really get Brexit done. This plenary debate and vote concludes four months of intense scrutiny of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in all its different dimensions, whereas the House of Commons barely had a few hours to do so.

Though it remains true that this Parliament never liked the fact that the TCA was provisionally applied before we could deliver our verdict, this situation has given us the opportunity to observe the TCA in action. However imperfect the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is, it has the merit of having cushioned the worst impact of the economic Brexit this year. Nevertheless, provisional application without Parliament’s prior consent, President von der Leyen, cannot be a precedent for any future procedures, and I believe that, as a Parliament, we have made this abundantly clear.

I am today recommending that this House give a positive vote to the TCA. The UK Government, however, should not mistakenly take this for a blank cheque or a vote of blind confidence in its intention to implement the agreements between us in good faith. No, they should see this as the EU taking an insurance policy against further unilateral deviations from what was jointly agreed, not least because a positive vote on the TCA means that we are expanding our legal tools and leverage to continue pressing for full and pragmatic implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The protection of the hard-won peace on the island of Ireland through the Good Friday Agreement has been the EU’s number one preoccupation ever since the referendum in 2016. The Protocol was, and is, the EU’s and the UK’s joint response to the conundrum of exiting the single market and avoiding a hard border. So instead of playing fast and loose with the terms of the jointly agreed Protocol, undermining repeatedly the necessary trust for our new relationship to evolve, the UK Government should own up to the Agreement it co-signed. The TCA will be one more tool to hold the UK Government to account should they deliberately seek to undermine the Protocol.

Infringement proceedings under the Withdrawal Agreement are under way, and I want to call upon the Commission to pursue them with vigour. Should they, however, be met with persistent non—compliance, then we can resort to the TCA to suspend, for example, our obligations under the TCA, like reimposing tariffs or quotas, if necessary, as a last resort. But our real leverage definitely lies in the TCA, and I sincerely hope that we will not go that far and that Vice—President Šefčovič and Lord Frost can come to an agreement in the form of a credible roadmap that will see the Protocol fully implemented. There is sufficient room for pragmatism and flexibility once all provisions have been implemented, and we continue to believe that the Protocol is the best way to safeguard the peace in Northern Ireland.

A positive vote for the TCA, which has secured unprecedented levels of market access, also means increased legal certainty for companies that are operating under very difficult circumstances these days with the supply chains affected by Brexit and by the pandemic. Plunging our companies into renewed uncertainty would be hugely irresponsible. A positive vote means preserving and solidifying the unprecedented and hard—won level playing field they got, which this Parliament has heavily advocated in favour of. We should be under no illusion that there are those in the House of Commons that would seize any opportunity to fully break free from those hard—won provisions.

Last but not least, a positive vote today does not mean that the Parliament resigns its duties or relinquishes its oversights – quite on the contrary. The President of the Commission has made a clear declaration enshrining the Parliament’s institutional oversight, setting in stone the future role of the Parliament as a watchstock for this Agreement. Therefore, the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly should take up its functions sooner rather than later so that we may monitor together the implementation of the TCA and continue to build bridges across the Channel, because our fates and future will always and inextricably be interlinked.

For those reasons, dear colleagues, I strongly recommend you to ratify and vote in favour of the TCA today. It is the only responsible thing to do for our businesses, for our companies and for our citizens. Let’s move ahead.

 
  
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  Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, today we do the final legal step on the Brexit saga. We create certainty for our businesses and also a clear legal framework for the future relationship between Great Britain and the EU.

The PPE will support the agreement today and the overwhelming majority in the Committee on International Trade-Committee on Foreign Affairs (INTA—AFET) Joint Committee gave us already a clear idea that the content is a good base for the future. I want to thank also Michel Barnier for his great work. He has always delivered, he has always served the European interests, and also in this regard he delivered and he did a good job for us. In London they recognise now, step by step, that Johnson cannot deliver on his promises, but I think we did our job, to do our best. Thank you so much, Michel, and I also want to thank our colleagues in the House, so Guy Verhofstadt, David McAllister, as the leading personalities, but also the rapporteurs and all colleagues who contributed.

Our big concern, and Ursula von der Leyen mentioned this, our worry is now the implementation, the question of trust. When I grew up, UK diplomacy was for me a symbol of credibility, a symbol of a treaty-based approach, an interest-based policy. Today when we see the Northern Ireland Protocol implementation and how Johnson behaves, the message is: ‘I don’t care. I don’t care even about my signature.’ That’s the new Great Britain we have as a partner on our side.

With the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) the Commission will have more power, more tools in the future to push for a proper implementation, and that is needed in the interests of the citizens, of the people of Europe and of Great Britain, as the violence in Northern Ireland shows us. And for us, it’s also a chance, because with the lack of credibility in Great Britain in mind, we, as Europeans, can show you can trust in Europe.

The tasks ahead of us are clear. First of all implementation, and that’s why the scrutiny process is, for us, a key responsibility. We will continue our job and I thank Ursula von der Leyen for her clear commitment in this regard. The second political message is also clear. We have to tell people Brexit is a lose-lose situation. We have a lot of victims – I want to remind you again of the students who cannot benefit any more from the Erasmus programme – so we have a lot of these victims, so it is a lose-lose situation and we have to be clear, the responsibility is in the field of the Brexiteers. It is in the field of Boris Johnson. The violence of Northern Ireland is the Brexiteers’ violence – they are responsible for this. That has to be clear.

And the third task, on the long term. I truly believe that we can re-strengthen the relationships in the future. There will be another future government, there will be another generation in Great Britain who will understand that they cannot answer the global challenges as Europeans without a united Europe. It requires a united Europe. We wait. We will welcome this new generation.

 
  
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  Iratxe García Pérez, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor presidente, el Acuerdo de Comercio y Cooperación que vincula a la Unión Europea y al Reino Unido desde el pasado 1 de enero nos ha permitido evitar un Brexit caótico que habría distorsionado la economía, agravado los efectos de la pandemia y sembrado de incertidumbre el futuro.

La pérdida de un socio significativo no es motivo de celebración, ya lo hemos escuchado esta mañana. Pero tras cuatro años de una compleja negociación, podemos afirmar que el objetivo clave de la Unión Europea de mantener una zona de libre comercio de mercancías con el Reino Unido, basada en el triple lema «aranceles cero, cuotas cero y competencia desleal cero», se ha cumplido. Señor Barnier, quiero trasladarle el más sincero reconocimiento del Grupo socialdemócrata por su extraordinario trabajo. Somos conscientes del ingente esfuerzo realizado en un contexto particularmente difícil por la pandemia y por la actitud intransigente de la otra orilla del canal de la Mancha.

El Brexit representa la gran mentira de la derecha británica. Boris Johnson prometió al Reino Unido la recuperación de una plena soberanía sobre sus fronteras, sus leyes y sus aguas. La realidad es diferente: una parte del territorio británico, Irlanda del Norte, sigue dentro de la unión aduanera y del mercado interior de la Unión Europea; Gibraltar se unirá al espacio Schengen según el principio de acuerdo entre España y el Reino Unido, y será Madrid la que garantice que la normativa Schengen se aplique en la colonia; Londres afrontará penalizaciones en caso de competencia desleal en el ámbito fiscal, laboral y medioambiental; y los pescadores británicos claman ser los grandes perdedores del Acuerdo.

Cuatro meses de separación muestran que la Europa de las fronteras no es más que el dolor del nacionalismo de siempre. Las primeras consecuencias ya se dejan sentir: las exportaciones del Reino Unido a la Unión Europea se hundieron en enero un 40 %, mientras que se importó un 28 % menos desde los Veintisiete. El incremento de la burocracia inútil, el coste del transporte, las colas de los camiones y el desabastecimiento de los supermercados de Irlanda del Norte reflejan igualmente la pesadilla que sufren a diario trabajadores, empresas y estudiantes.

Aún más dramático es el regreso de la violencia a Irlanda del Norte tras dos décadas de reconciliación. El vandalismo solo tiene un culpable: los grupos que agitan los disturbios. Pero hay una explicación política en el trasfondo de la violencia. El señor Johnson decidió que Irlanda del Norte permaneciese dentro del espacio de la Unión Europea al mismo tiempo que aseguraba con cinismo a los partidos unionistas que nunca habría frontera entre Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte.

Es hora de que el señor Johnson y los partidos unionistas expliquen a sus ciudadanos que la Unión Europea nunca modificará el Protocolo sobre Irlanda, porque se trata de un instrumento clave para defender su propio interés, que no es otro que la paz alcanzada con el Acuerdo de Viernes Santo de 1998. Señor Šefčovič, en nombre del Grupo socialdemócrata le agradezco el enorme esfuerzo que está realizando para alcanzar un acuerdo amistoso y le pido que, si Londres continúa incumpliendo los controles fronterizos, siga adelante con los instrumentos que tenemos a partir de ahora.

Los logros alcanzados hasta ahora en la negociación con el Reino Unido deben servirnos para reflexionar sobre lo que somos capaces de conseguir cuando estamos unidos, cuando estamos los Veintisiete. Gracias a que la Comisión Europea, los veintisiete Estados miembros y el Parlamento Europeo han sido capaces de actuar de forma unida, doblan las campanas por el «divide y vencerás» practicado por Londres durante siglos para truncar el nacimiento de un poder hegemónico europeo.

Con el Brexit consumado, ha llegado el momento de la Unión Europea. La idea de una Unión «a dos velocidades» tradicionalmente impulsada por el Reino Unido debe permanecer en el recuerdo de la historia. Sabemos que el proyecto de integración europea se ha forjado golpe a golpe, convirtiendo las caídas en pasos hacia adelante. Antes del Brexit, la Unión Europea sobrevivió a otros momentos convulsos, y lo hizo como mejor sabe: profundizando en su integración. Así es como debemos responder a la salida del Reino Unido y a la crisis de la pandemia.

Es hora de dar pasos decididos hacia una autonomía estratégica que nos permita sobrevivir como actor de primer orden. La emisión de deuda conjunta para afrontar la deuda pandémica, nuestro liderazgo mundial en la batalla contra el cambio climático, el pilar de derechos sociales, etc.: esos son los elementos que nos deben hacer fuertes dentro del ámbito internacional también.

Actuemos con valentía ante las reformas necesarias y con optimismo ante las dificultades. ¿Acaso no es así como ha crecido el proyecto europeo desde el Tratado de París, que ahora cumple setenta años?

El Brexit debe hacer reflexionar a la población británica sobre el daño del aislamiento voluntario. Por nuestra parte, debemos tender una mano leal de amistad a los británicos. Mucho nos une, no solo hacia el pasado, sino también hacia el futuro. Aún tenemos acuerdos que tejer sobre servicios, y debemos hacer todo lo posible por desarrollar una asociación constructiva en materia de política exterior y de seguridad. La responsabilidad de los errores y de dirigentes populistas no debe recaer sobre futuros acuerdos. El pasado 1 de enero se puso fin a 47 años de encuentro. Si hacemos posible que la razón prevalezca, el tiempo dirá si el Brexit marca la cuenta atrás para un nuevo encuentro.

 
  
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  Malik Azmani, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, five years have passed since the Brexit referendum and it turns out that leaving the EU was not as easy as Brexiteers made people believe. Despite all of the hard work done by the negotiating teams, and I would especially like to express my gratitude on behalf of Renew Europe also to Mr Barnier, but also of course to all those colleagues who worked hard the last couple of years.

Political will was efficient on the UK side and there was a lack of integrity, which is the cause of where we find ourselves today. We already see the collateral damage. Who would have thought 10 years ago that we would be in the situation of having to plead for respect for the Good Friday Agreement? It begs the unthinkable question, are some in Westminister determined to drag Northern Ireland back to the time of the Troubles?

Despite recent improvements Renew Europe is not yet convinced about the willingness of the British Government to respect the TCA and the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. The British Government has not proven trustworthy so far. This is why we ask the Commission to pursue the infringement proceedings against the UK with vigour. Despite the serious concerns, my group will vote in favour of the Brexit deal today.

Voting this deal down would result in the risk of a no-deal scenario that we have worked so hard to avoid. But this is agreement does not give a blank cheque to the UK nor to the European Commission, and in order for this agreement to work, trust must be regained. Renew Europe wants to see a concrete timetable jointly set up by the UK and the European Commission.

If the British Government does not respect agreed obligations, we will not hesitate to take all necessary action. This includes the restriction of the unprecedented levels of market excess the UK currently enjoys. We can only remain good friends if both parties play fairly. We also need to ensure that the UK pays its fair share of liabilities accumulated over the course of its membership and beyond.

Finally Renew Europe welcomes the Commission statement on Parliament’s role in implementation of the agreement, that this commitment must be put into an interinstitutional agreement. The European Parliament must play an active role in the monitoring and implementation of the agreement, and we will not give up this fight.

To conclude, it’s important that we keep realising that the EU and the UK both benefit more from good cooperation as neighbours then from managing divergences. Let’s hope better days lie ahead. That is certainly our hope.

 
  
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  Nicolas Bay, au nom du groupe ID. – Monsieur le Président, nous sommes à l’heure du bilan. Il y a bientôt cinq ans, le 23 juin 2016, le Royaume-Uni faisait le choix souverain, par référendum, à la majorité absolue, de quitter l’Union européenne.

Cette décision n’était pas totalement une surprise: le Royaume-Uni ne goûtait guère la fuite en avant fédéraliste et, déjà, avait refusé à la fois les accords de Schengen et l’entrée dans l’euro. Pendant trois ans ensuite, ici à Bruxelles, tout a été envisagé pour finalement empêcher que le Brexit n’ait totalement lieu, pour repasser les plats, en quelque sorte, et annuler de fait le résultat du référendum. Chacun y allait de son petit plan: nouvelles élections, nouveau référendum, vote parlementaire – on a assisté en réalité à une perte totale de sang-froid. Petit florilège des déclarations de l’époque. Jean-Claude Juncker, prédécesseur d’Ursula von der Leyen, disait ainsi: «Il ne peut y avoir de choix démocratique contre les traités européens.» Donald Tusk, à l’époque président du Conseil européen, déclarait: «Je me demande à quoi ressemble la place spéciale qu’auront en enfer ceux qui ont promu le Brexit.» Quant à Guy Verhofstadt, toujours nuancé et subtil, il disait, je cite, «les Brexiteurs arriveraient même à diviser l’enfer». Ces propos grotesques, dans lesquels l’outrance le dispute à la grandiloquence, montrent en réalité la conception totalement dogmatique, quasi-religieuse, qui est celle des fédéralistes européens.

Puis se sont engagées les négociations entre Theresa May et Michel Barnier, tous deux d’ailleurs opposés au Brexit. S’en est suivi, évidemment, un texte inacceptable pour le Royaume—Uni, inacceptable pour la Chambre des communes, qui prenait en otage la très délicate question irlandaise pour, en pratique, maintenir le Royaume-Uni dans l’essentiel des dispositifs européens. Et il aura fallu que les urnes parlent une seconde fois pour qu’enfin la volonté populaire soit respectée. Lorsque Boris Johnson est arrivé au pouvoir fin 2018, en moins de trois mois, il a obtenu une renégociation de l’accord que l’on prétendait immuable. Il y a donc eu beaucoup de postures pour masquer beaucoup de faiblesses.

Cette saga politique touche enfin à son terme. Nous souhaitons bon vent à nos amis britanniques, car ils quittent l’Union européenne, mais restent profondément européens. Le Royaume-Uni est et restera une grande nation amie, voisine et alliée. Il est intéressant de voir que les institutions européennes sont finalement passées d’un excès à l’autre. Après avoir voulu piétiner le choix des Britanniques au début, puis punir le Royaume-Uni, elles ont finalement cédé à tout une fois que le Brexit est devenu inéluctable car, mes chers collègues, que voulaient les Britanniques? Hé bien, ils voulaient continuer de disposer d’un accès total au marché unique, sans droits de douane ni quotas, ne plus être contraints par l’inflation des normes et du droit européen, et ne plus être liés par les décisions et la jurisprudence de la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne. Ils ont tout obtenu. Certes, ils ne pourront plus revenir en arrière par rapport aux normes européennes actuelles, mais ils ne seront pas tenus de s’aligner sur les normes futures de l’Union européenne, ni de les transposer dans le droit britannique. En clair, les futures normes et contraintes pesant sur nos acteurs économiques qui sont la marque de fabrique de l’Union européenne, chaque jour qui passe, accroîtront la compétitivité des Britanniques jusqu’à créer, évidemment, des situations de concurrence déloyale. En recouvrant leur souveraineté commerciale, les Britanniques pourront multiplier les accords économiques avec le monde entier et constituer ainsi une porte d’entrée des marchandises sur le marché européen. Au final, l’obsession du libre-échange l’a donc emporté sur la volonté de punir les Britanniques, et vous avez finalement cédé à tout. Dorénavant, le Royaume—Uni est un pays tiers, à la fois partenaire et rival, et évidemment, il défendra ses intérêts et il nous appartient d’être capables enfin de défendre les nôtres.

Mais ces cinq années d’atermoiements, de postures idéologiques, pour finalement défendre très faiblement nos intérêts ne sont pas sans conséquence, par exemple sur la pêche, sujet fondamental qui aurait dû être au cœur des négociations dès le début et qui fut traité en quinze jours, à la fin, dans la précipitation, sous la menace d’une absence d’accord, pour finalement justifier le sacrifice de nos intérêts. J’ai rencontré ce week-end, dans ma région, la Normandie, des pêcheurs qui souffrent des décisions prises brutalement et unilatéralement par Bruxelles. La pêche normande, cela représente 24 000 emplois directs et indirects, une filière économique essentielle et d’excellence. Elle est menacée par les négociations européennes qui ont passé la pêche française par pertes et profits.

Subissant ce Brexit qui remet en cause les grands dogmes de l’Union européenne, vous vous permettez une dernière petite foucade: dans la résolution que vous vous apprêtez à voter, vous sermonnez une ultime fois le peuple britannique, mais qu’en a-t-il à faire? On le voit avec la campagne de vaccination: le Royaume-Uni parvient aujourd’hui à vacciner quatre, cinq, six fois plus qu’en France, en Allemagne ou en Italie. Aujourd’hui, le Parlement européen se trouve malheureusement relégué à son rôle habituel, être la chambre d’enregistrement de décisions qui sont prises ailleurs et qui sont d’ailleurs déjà appliquées depuis début janvier.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur Bay, vous avez livré un plaidoyer non ambigu en faveur de la sortie de l’Union européenne. Je voudrais simplement vous appeler à être un petit peu plus à l’écoute de votre patronne, Marine Le Pen, qui a nettement infléchi sa trajectoire pour aujourd’hui plaider le maintien de la France dans l’Union européenne. Peut-être y a-t-il un petit problème d’alignement entre vous et elle, mais ce n’est pas quelque chose de très surprenant venant de votre coin de l’Assemblée.

Chers collègues, l’accord de commerce et de coopération avec le Royaume-Uni est-il un bon accord pour l’Union européenne? Je dirais qu’aucun accord de ce type n’est un substitut favorable à une adhésion pleine et entière à l’Union européenne. Cela, tout le monde ici le sait, mais compte tenu des circonstances, l’accord protège au mieux les intérêts de l’Union européenne, en particulier l’intégrité de son marché intérieur.

Je voudrais adresser un remerciement particulièrement chaleureux aux qualités et à l’homme qui en a fait preuve, Michel Barnier, à son intelligence, à sa vision, à son opiniâtreté, à son sens du dialogue... Je sais que si je continuais, les larmes me viendraient rapidement, je vais donc éviter de m’appesantir trop lourdement, mais Michel, merci vraiment de tout cœur pour ce que tu as accompli au cours de ces presque cinq ans.

Maintenant, cet accord sera un bon accord pour l’Union si l’une des deux conditions que je vais vous énoncer est respectée. La première est que le Royaume-Uni respecte sa signature et, là-dessus, aucun doute n’est permis. Le gouvernement britannique actuel, sous la houlette du premier ministre Johnson, a fait la preuve du peu de cas qu’il fait à la fois de l’état de droit britannique et des accords qu’il a lui-même signés. Donc, à défaut de cette confiance – une confiance qui, je le rappelle, a été rompue par ce gouvernement britannique, car si aujourd’hui nous avons de la violence en Irlande du Nord, c’est d’abord et avant tout en raison des mensonges, je dis bien des mensonges, du premier ministre Johnson qui a fait croire aux Nord-Irlandais que rien ne les séparerait du Royaume—Uni, alors que l’accord de séparation et son protocole irlandais indiquent très précisément les différences de traitement entre l’Irlande du Nord et le reste du Royaume—Uni –, mais donc, à défaut de la confiance qu’on peut accorder au gouvernement britannique, nous devons pouvoir compter sur la Commission européenne et sur la volonté politique qu’elle aura d’user de tous les moyens mis à sa disposition tant par l’accord de séparation que par l’accord que nous allons voter aujourd’hui pour imposer le respect par le Royaume-Uni de ses propres engagements. À ce sujet, Madame la Présidente, je dois vous dire que la Commission européenne n’a pas un parcours sans tache. Je me souviens du peu d’empressement qu’elle a montré par le passé – c’était bien avant votre temps – à s’attaquer au dumping chinois en matière de panneaux solaires ou encore, plus récemment, au manque de respect par la Corée du Sud de ses engagements en matière de droit des travailleurs. Il y a donc vraiment un travail à faire de ce côté-là.

Le domaine qui nous préoccupe le plus est celui de la protection des données. C’est un secret de polichinelle: le Royaume-Uni est un des champions du monde de la surveillance généralisée. Comment peut-on alors considérer comme équivalentes ou adéquates les mesures de protection prises par le Royaume-Uni en ce qui concerne les données personnelles quand on sait qu’il espionne massivement ses propres citoyens? À cet égard, Madame la Présidente, le projet de décision de la Commission sur l’adéquation des mesures britanniques en matière de protection des données me semble faire preuve d’une coupable légèreté.

En votant aujourd’hui le traité avec le Royaume-Uni, le Parlement, quelque part, se défait de son principal levier en matière d’exécution de l’accord. C’est donc un acte de confiance, et un acte de confiance double: c’est d’abord un acte de confiance en la Commission, pour qu’elle fasse preuve d’opiniâtreté et de détermination dans la protection des intérêts de l’Union, mais c’est aussi, chers collègues, un acte de confiance vis à vis du peuple britannique. Ce n’est pas parce que le pays est aujourd’hui dirigé par un gouvernement qui a fait la preuve de son manque de fiabilité qu’il en sera toujours ainsi. Nous savons faire la différence entre un peuple et son gouvernement. Quelles que soient les tentatives de ce gouvernement de séparer le peuple britannique de l’Union européenne, nous sommes, eux et nous, liés par la géographie, par l’histoire et par la culture et donc, inévitablement, nous sommes dans le même bateau. Nous avons partie liée pour relever les nombreux défis du XXIe siècle.

 
  
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  Geert Bourgeois (ECR). – Voorzitter, mevrouw de voorzitter van de Commissie, mevrouw de minister, mijnheer de vicevoorzitter, cher Michel, geachte collega’s, de brexit blijft een historische gebeurtenis – hopelijk zonder enige navolging – die ik nog steeds diep blijf betreuren. Het is een verhaal met enkel verliezers en bijna vijf jaar na het referendum en na een moeizaam proces van onderhandelingen – op een schitterende manier geleid door Michel Barnier – komt er met voorliggend akkoord een einde aan de grote rechtsonzekerheid voor onze burgers, voor onze bedrijven en ook voor onze welvaart.

Een no-dealscenario wordt gelukkig vermeden op die manier. We hebben in dit akkoord afspraken gemaakt die de basis vormen voor onze toekomstige relatie en die moeten dus ook worden nagekomen. Pacta sunt servanda. Maar daarmee is het werk nog niet gedaan. De conflicten van de voorbije weken bewijzen dat deze deal geen done deal is. In het belang van burgers en bedrijven aan weerszijden van het kanaal moeten we blijven streven naar pragmatische oplossingen die de integriteit van onze eengemaakte Europese markt bewaren, maar die ook het Goede Vrijdagakkoord beschermen, behouden en die werk maken van een toekomstige goede relatie, een goed partnerschap met onze Britse vrienden.

Op korte termijn moedig ik de Europese Commissie en de Britse regering aan om nu samen snel werk te maken van de overeengekomen douanecontroles en die controles in Noord-Ierland ook zo efficiënt mogelijk te handhaven. En ik ben tevreden, mevrouw de voorzitter, met het engagement dat u ter zake zopas hebt uitgesproken. Niet alleen kan een vlottere douaneafhandeling, maar hopelijk ook afspraken over fytosanitaire controles, mede de lont uit het Noord-Ierse kruitvat halen en de situatie de-escaleren, maar ook het algemene goederenvervoer is erbij gebaat. En met het oog op dat laatste raad ik de Commissie aan om de volgende aanbevelingen over te nemen:

- ten eerste een meer doorgedreven digitalisering van de douanecontroles met gedeelde data,

- ten tweede gebruikmaken van een systeem van trusted economic operators, waardoor bedrijven die veel exporteren, die voldoen aan bepaalde veiligheidsnormen, slechts steekproefsgewijs met controle te maken krijgen,

- voorafgaande inklaring (pre-clearance), zodat we green lanes kunnen creëren, en

- tot slot, de best mogelijke tools ter ondersteuning van onze kmo’s.

Maar het vertrek van onze Britse vrienden is niet louter een economisch verlies. Onder het motto “beter een goede buur dan een verre vriend” is het in ons beider belang om de samenwerking voort te zetten en zelfs te versterken. Inderdaad, Michel Barnier, er is meer dat ons bindt dan wat ons verdeelt, en dat niet het minst in domeinen als veiligheid, migratie, grensbeheer, transport, onderzoek en ontwikkeling, buitenlands beleid, de Noordzee, onderwijs. Laat ons ook samenwerken met deze devolved nations die vragende partij zijn om uitvoering te blijven geven aan Erasmus+.

Laat ons ook lessen trekken uit deze exit. Ik verzet mij tegen elke vorm van gigantisme. Méér Europa is niet altijd de oplossing voor elk probleem, wel het streven naar een betere Europese Unie. De EU moet een uniek, sterk samenwerkingsverband blijven tussen lid- en deelstaten die hun identiteit bewaren, die beslissen wat ze wél en wat ze niet samen doen. De EU mag nooit uitgroeien tot een superstaat boven de hoofden van de Europese volkeren. Dit staat haaks op de basisbeginselen van subsidiariteit en eenheid in verscheidenheid. Ons motto moet zijn: “samenwerken als dat meerwaarde oplevert”, kijken naar gedeelde uitdagingen van de lidstaten, gebaseerd op schaalvoordelen, gebaseerd op toegevoegde waarde, door in te zetten op verdieping van de interne markt, meer handelsverdragen, meer onderzoek en ontwikkeling en betere bescherming van onze grenzen.

Laat ons nu naar de toekomst kijken, maar niet zonder eerst een groot woord van dank uit te spreken aan David McAllister, aan de rapporteurs, aan vicevoorzitter Šefčovič voor zijn aanpak en goede dialoog met het Parlement, maar vooral aan Michel Barnier, die op een onnavolgbare manier uitvoering gegeven heeft aan een aartsmoeilijke opdracht. Wat ons betreft wordt hier goedkeuring aan gegeven en zal ook de bijgaande resolutie worden goedgekeurd.

 
  
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  Martin Schirdewan, im Namen der Fraktion The Left. – Herr Präsident! Die heutige Debatte markiert in der Tat einen historischen Wendepunkt in der europäischen Geschichte. Doch dass sich vor mittlerweile knapp fünf Jahren ein Mitglied der europäischen Familie dafür entschieden hat, den Familienkreis zu verlassen, das sagt vor allem auch viel über die Probleme und auch die falsche Politik in der EU selbst aus. Es ist nicht gelungen, die Menschen vom Bleiben zu überzeugen.

Und Michel Barnier, dem ich hier an dieser Stelle herzlich für seine Arbeit danken möchte, hat darauf auch in seiner Rede hingewiesen: Nicht nur viele Britinnen und Briten, sondern auch Millionen von Europäerinnen und Europäern und EU-Bürgerinnen und -Bürgern leiden darunter, dass in den letzten Jahrzehnten systematisch die neoliberale Axt an die sozialen Sicherungssysteme gelegt wurde und die öffentliche Daseinsvorsorge den Interessen des Marktes und nicht den Bedürfnissen der Menschen untergeordnet wird. Das beweisen uns die Bilder aus den europäischen Krankenhäusern heute leider jeden Tag.

Dies- und jenseits des Ärmelkanals wachsen Kinder in Armut auf, schuften sich Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer tagein, tagaus den Buckel krumm und sind trotzdem arm, können sich Millionen von Europäerinnen und Europäern nicht die Wohnung, nicht den Strom und manchmal nicht mal das täglich Brot leisten.

Das ist ein unerträglicher Skandal, und deshalb muss die Lehre des Brexit für uns heute heißen: Schluss mit der Politik der sozialen Kälte, her mit einer gerechten Wohlstandsverteilung, her mit einer ausfinanzierten öffentlichen Gesundheitsversorgung, her mit einer starken öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge mit guten Jobs und guten Löhnen und sozialer Sicherheit, die ihren Namen auch verdient. Das wäre die Aufgabe europäischer Politik, das wäre die Lehre, die wir aus dem Brexit zu ziehen haben.

Today I can say with pride that The Left Group played an important role in shaping the debate on the relationship between Britain and the European Union. From the very beginning, we have made clear that citizens’ rights, labour and social standards, environmental standards and consumer protection need to be central, not only in this Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) but in every European trade agreement. We would prefer stronger enforcement mechanisms in the TCA, but we are pleased that Parliament understood the importance of workers’ rights and environmental standards. We should translate this understanding into improvements in the European Union itself.

And we are particularly proud of the role our Group played in raising awareness of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Ireland and in shaping the Irish Protocol. Now we should together ensure that the people in the north of Ireland, both British and Irish citizens, have a special place in political dialogue with the EU institutions.

But we will need to be vigilant in the years ahead to make sure that this government in London respects its commitments. We know from experience that the British Conservatives will use every opportunity to get out of legal commitments, as they have done with the Withdrawal Agreement. We look forward to continued friendship with the British labour movement, with the social and environmental movements and with the millions of British citizens in building and improving our common European home.

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, vor uns liegt eine schwierige Entscheidung. In den zurückliegenden Monaten hat die Regierung Johnson jegliches Vertrauen unwiederbringlich verspielt. Allein die Millionen Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer, aber auch deren Unternehmen verdienen Planungssicherheit wegen ihrer Jobs, wegen der Aufrechterhaltung der Lieferketten, wegen der Kontinuität von Handelsbeziehungen.

Eines muss jedoch klar sein: Bei weiteren einseitigen Verstößen der britischen Seite gegen das Austrittsabkommen, die den Friedensprozess in Nordirland gefährden, und bei unlauterem Wettbewerb auf Kosten von Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmern, der Umwelt, des Verbraucherschutzes muss mit aller Konsequenz reagiert werden. Das Abkommen selbst gibt dazu weitere Möglichkeiten an die Hand, und ich bin froh, dass es – auch auf Druck meiner Fraktion – gelungen ist, die unsäglichen intransparenten und privaten Schiedsgerichte herauszuhalten, um die Lösung zukünftiger Handelsstreitigkeiten demokratischer Kontrolle zu unterziehen.

 
  
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  Enikő Győri (NI). – Tisztelt Elnök úr! Örülök, hogy az Európai Parlament végül észszerű és felelősségteljes döntést hozott, és napirendre tűzte ezt a mai szavazást. A további intézményi erőfitogtatásnak, sárdobálásnak nem volna semmi értelme. A polgárainknak, a vállalatainak stabilitásra van szükségük, ehhez pedig elengedhetetlen, hogy az egyezmény május elsején életbe lépjen. Enélkül a negatív hatások sokkal erősebbek lennének. Persze ettől még meggyőződésem, mindkét fél veszít a britek távozásával, ahogy azt egyébként a lanyhuló kereskedelmi, forgalmi adatok is mutatják január óta.

Mindenkinek meg kell értenie, lezárult egy korszak. A britek nemcsak az EU-ból léptek ki, hanem elhagyták a közös piacot és a vámuniót is, így a személyek szabad áramlása és az akadálymentes kereskedelem megszűnt. Mindez az emberek és a cégek mindennapi életére is jelentős hatással lesz. A megállapodás nem tesz csodát, nem hozza vissza az Egyesült Királyságot az Unióba. A britek távoztak, és ezt a döntésüket tudomásul kell vennünk. Meg kell tanulnunk alkalmazkodni a megváltozott helyzethez. Elsődleges feladatunk polgáraink és vállalataink érdekeinek szem előtt tartása. Így nyomon kell követnünk, hogy a brexit-döntés előtt az Egyesült Királyságban letelepedett uniós polgárok addig élvezett jogai ne sérüljenek a jövőben, illetve a cégekre vonatkozó versenyfeltételek legyenek azonosak a csatorna két partján. Időigényes és költséges ellenőrzések jönnek az áruforgalom során. Arra kérem a Bizottságot, hogy ezt úgy működtesse, hogy a lehető legkevesebb fennakadást okozza. Akkor várhatjuk ezt el a britektől is. Jussunk túl a sérelmeken, csökkentsük ezzel a veszteségeinket.

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA: ROBERTA METSOLA
Viċi President

 
  
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  David McAllister (PPE). – Madam President, the consent of the European Parliament to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement marks the end of an unprecedented process, but, above all, it marks the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship with the United Kingdom, an important neighbour, an important partner and a loyal NATO ally.

As previous speakers have mentioned, indeed since the provisional application of this Agreement on 1 January, we are witnessing practical difficulties. Indeed, this Agreement is not completely exhaustive. Provisions on foreign policy and security cooperation are lacking and all of us deeply regret that the United Kingdom will no longer participate in the successful Erasmus+ Programme. Indeed, it is clear that more work will be needed to broaden and deepen our new partnership with the United Kingdom in the upcoming years.

However, it has always been clear from the beginning, that even an agreement as comprehensive as the one we are voting on today simply cannot replace EU membership. A third country cannot have the same rights and benefits as a Member State. Yet this Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a solid legal basis for our future relations with the United Kingdom, it gives people and businesses on both sides of the Channel legal certainty and prevents the cliff—edge Brexit with trade on WTO terms that we were all determined to avoid.

During the negotiations, it was not self-evident that a deal could be reached by the end of the transition period. The talks were very challenging and certainly complex. Allow me also to thank our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team for their outstanding work and for the very good cooperation with Parliament’s United Kingdom Coordination Group (UKCG). Now the Agreement must be implemented. The practical difficulties that we have witnessed in the first weeks of the provisional application result from the type of Brexit that the UK Government has chosen for itself.

With regard to the worrying situation in Northern Ireland, it is clear to us that the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, is the only way to protect the Good Friday Agreement. It is the only way to preserve peace and stability, while avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and also maintaining the integrity of our single market. The European Union has always been, and the European Union will remain, fully committed to work on practical solutions, but let me be absolutely clear. The Protocol is not the problem. The Protocol is the solution to the problem. The name of the problem is Brexit.

As we, the European Parliament, continue to follow the situation closely, we also need to play a key role in the implementation and scrutiny of the Withdrawal Agreement and also the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. In this regard, let me commend our Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and our Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič, for the Commission’s clear commitment to the future role Parliament must play while monitoring and implementing the agreement.

Finally, allow me to thank everyone involved in this in so many ways unprecedented and challenging negotiation process, the members of the UK Coordination Group, in which we worked very well and constructively together across party lines. I would like to thank President Sassoli and the group leaders in the Conference of Presidents, as well as the parliamentary committees, for their trust and the good cooperation with the members of the UKCG. I would also like to welcome the staff involved, who worked so tirelessly in recent weeks.

While Brexit is, and will always be, a lose-lose situation, the negotiations have once again shown that our strength as the European Union lies in our unity. We should all keep this in mind when further developing our community of states.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Madam President, Parliament is here today to write history, giving final consent to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that, from now on, will govern the relationship between the European Union and its former member, the United Kingdom.

In doing so, we cannot avoid a certain degree of mixed feelings. On the one hand, while fully respecting the will of the British people, we do regret Brexit because it is a sad page in the political history of Europe and also because it is damaging and damaging for everybody; for the EU, even more for the UK, for our citizens, our economic interests, our common interests in this challenging world. But mixed feelings, because on the other hand we are completely sure that, now that Brexit is a fact of life, to approve this Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the right thing to do for the benefit of our citizens and our interests.

In fact, it would be a mistake to miss the future by looking backwards to the past. The time has come to look ahead and to build a new future—oriented relationship with the UK based on our common values. But we can only give consent to this Agreement because it is a good agreement, and let me warmly thank Michel Barnier and his team for his remarkable work, for always informing this Parliament and also for keeping us united, which is in itself also a remarkable achievement.

This Agreement is an important damage control exercise. It avoids the no—deal scenario and it provides for a new framework for open and fair competition in unprecedented terms and also with unprecedented enforcement mechanisms. Looking ahead to this new implementation phase, we very much welcome the recent declaration of the Commission and the work done by Maroš Šefčovič on the role of the European Parliament in the implementation of this Agreement.

And finally, as the European Parliament rapporteur for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, let me make clear that we will continue to fight for citizens’ rights, and we expect from the UK nothing less than full compliance with the commitments under international law. So, we support the infringement procedure initiated by the Commission and we very much hope that the talks going on on this implementation, on finding a roadmap for full implementation, can be successful. So let’s build a new partnership with the UK and let’s begin by ensuring full implementation of the agreements we’ve just signed.

 
  
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  Nathalie Loiseau (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, cher Michel Barnier, cher Maroš Šefčovič, le Brexit a pris effet le 1er janvier. Depuis cette date, on observe jour après jour les conséquences négatives de ce qu’il faut bien appeler une erreur historique.

Le commerce du Royaume-Uni vers l’Union européenne a chuté, alors que les exportations européennes vers Londres se sont maintenues. De plus en plus de travailleurs qualifiés reviennent vers le continent où se trouvent des débouchés. Les étudiants européens désertent les universités britanniques... Tout cela découle du Brexit et doit être assumé par ceux qui l’ont soutenu.

De manière plus préoccupante, les tensions ressurgissent en Irlande du Nord où la paix reste fragile, où le rôle de l’Union européenne dans les accords du Vendredi saint a sans doute été sous-estimé et où les difficultés inhérentes au Brexit ont été totalement passées sous silence.

Notre responsabilité de parlementaires européens consiste à limiter autant que possible les dégâts du Brexit. C’est ce que nous devons faire aujourd’hui en ratifiant l’accord de coopération et de commerce. Cet accord permet de poursuivre des relations étroites avec nos partenaires britanniques, tout en protégeant les intérêts des Européens. Mais notre responsabilité ne s’arrête pas là: nous devons veiller au respect plein et entier des engagements pris par le gouvernement britannique.

Sur l’Irlande du Nord, Boris Johnson tourne autour du pot et feint d’ignorer ce qu’il a signé. Cela ne règle rien, bien au contraire, et la Commission a eu raison de lancer une procédure d’infraction.

À l’égard des pêcheurs européens, les autorités britanniques multiplient les tracasseries administratives. Là encore, la Commission doit calmement mais fermement exiger le respect de l’accord et protéger nos pêcheurs.

Enfin, chers collègues, parce que l’Europe a signé avec Londres un accord sans précédent, notre contrôle parlementaire doit être lui aussi sans précédent. Notre ratification n’a rien d’un chèque en blanc, ni vis-à-vis de Londres, ni vis-à-vis de la Commission. Ce que nous avons défendu tout au long des négociations, nous veillerons à le faire respecter à tous égards. Dans ce Parlement aussi, le temps de la naïveté est révolu.

 
  
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  Peter Kofod (ID). – Fru formand! Jeg er på samme tid glad og trist over brexit: glad fordi brexit faktisk gennemføres, men samtidig trist, fordi EU har udviklet sig i en så dårlig retning, at et flertal af briterne betragter det som uattraktivt. Brexit er resultatet af for meget EU. Det er godt, at den beslutning, briterne har truffet, bliver gennemført, og at folkeafstemningens resultat respekteres. Det er godt, at briterne hjemtager magt fra EU, og jeg vil gerne endnu engang ønske briterne varmt tillykke med den aftale, der er indgået. For aftalen er god, og den er lysår bedre end det, eurokrater og føderalister påstod, at man kunne opnå. Jeg ønsker briterne det bedste, og de er stadigvæk vores gode venner, vores naboer og vores allierede.

Men jeg havde håbet, at brexit reelt havde sat gang i selvrefleksion i EU-systemet. At EU-systemet havde spurgt sig selv, hvorfor et flertal af briterne hellere vil leve uden for EU. Det er mildest talt ikke sket. I stedet for at se indad, har man kastet sig ud i et endnu større og mere vidtgående EU-projekt om indvandring og grænser, om vores økonomi med fælles gæld og stor gaveuddeling til Syd- og Østeuropa og om sociale rettigheder og arbejdsmarkedet. Lige præcis det, som mange af os har fået nok af, får vi nu endnu mere af. I det lys må jeg konstatere, at briterne traf det helt rigtige valg, da de stemte sig ud af EU, og at EU i årene fremover vil blive mindre attraktivt for små lande som Danmark, når det i højere grad bliver føderalisterne, der kommer til at svinge pisken. Der vil blive mindre plads til nationale forskelle i det her system.

Jeg så hellere, at EU i højere grad mindede om det samarbejde, som Danmark i sin tid meldte sig ind i, hvor det drejede sig om at handle med hinanden – hvilket jeg betragter, som et stort gode – og skabe et bedre forhold til de naboer, som vi historisk har haft konflikter med. Altså et langt mere begrænset EU, end det vi har i dag, hvor lande som Danmark tvinges til, at være central for uddeling af velfærdsydelser, hvor man bekæmper vores grænsekontrol ved vores nationale grænser, og hvor regningen for at være med er eksploderet. Er der noget at sige til, at briterne ikke ønsker at være en del af det mere? EU har udviklet sig i en hel gal retning over de sidste mange år. Mere EU vil ikke føre til et lykkeligere Europa, men mere EU vil betyde en større folkelig afmagt, og at de nationale demokratiers evne til at træffe beslutninger, der er tilpasset de enkelte nationer, gradvist bliver udvandet.

Med Storbritannien ude, vil udviklingen i den føderale retning gå endnu hurtigere. Det bekymrer mig meget på Danmarks vegne, men også på resten af de europæiske landes vegne. Jeg ønsker alt godt for Storbritannien uden for EU, og jeg glæder mig til den dag, hvor Danmark kommer til den samme konklusion og melder sig ud af EU. For jeg tror ganske enkelt ikke på, at det her system kan eller vil reddes eller rettes. Det her system vil kun vokse.

 
  
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  Jordi Solé (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, now that Brexit has happened, the EU needs to have the strongest possible relationship with the UK. Even if we regret their choice to leave, as we do, and despite the fact that the way to today’s vote has been a long and winding one, we have still a lot of things that keep us close. Therefore, we needed a good post-Brexit deal, and the TCA, despite some shortcomings and concerns – for instance on data protection – overall establishes a positive framework for this new partnership.

But let’s be clear: an ambitious zero tariff and zero-quota trade agreement like this can only happen on condition that at the same time there is zero social, environmental, fiscal and regulatory dumping. Therefore we will be extremely attentive to the implementation of the provisions that ensure there is no regression and no divergences over time in social and environmental protection standards. A trustful partnership between the EU and the UK also requires the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol to be implemented in all its dimensions. We are fully committed to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, shielding the peace process and avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Finally, let me underline something that hasn’t been brought to today’s debate yet. Let’s not forget that Brexit went ahead despite some constituent parts of the UK voting against it. And on top of that, the Welsh and Scottish governments have not been sufficiently consulted by London during the TCA negotiations. For our Scottish friends, the TCA might be the lesser evil to keep ties with the EU, but it is also a painful consequence of a decision imposed on them – a decision they did not take.

For them, as well as for an increasing number of people in Wales, the best possible relations with the EU is not the TCA. It certainly keeps being full membership in our Union. I hope they soon can rejoin us once they take a democratic choice in favour of independence.

 
  
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  Raffaele Fitto (ECR). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, innanzitutto vorrei esprimere la soddisfazione per il fatto che il voto su questo accordo sia stato calendarizzato durante questa sessione plenaria. Non era affatto scontato e il nostro gruppo ha più volte ribadito in sede di Conferenza dei presidenti l'importanza del voto nella sessione di aprile, mettendo fine ad ogni incertezza e garantendo prevedibilità e chiarezza sul futuro delle relazioni tra Regno Unito e Unione europea.

Inoltre, sull'attuazione dell'accordo, riteniamo necessario il coinvolgimento strutturale del Parlamento. Ci auguriamo, pertanto, che il Parlamento sia informato su un piano di parità con il Consiglio in quanto colegislatore. Il nostro gruppo ha sin dall'inizio rispettato la scelta legittima e democratica dei cittadini inglesi e le conseguenti decisioni del governo britannico di attivare la procedura di recesso prevista all'articolo 50 del nostro trattato.

Abbiamo sempre sostenuto l'importanza di trovare un accordo giusto privo di astio – che ancora oggi, in alcuni interventi, purtroppo, abbiamo respirato – e spirito punitivo, considerando la portata delle questioni e il significativo impatto che l'accordo avrà sui cittadini e le imprese europee e britanniche.

Accogliamo quindi con favore l'accordo raggiunto, e per questo facciamo i complimenti al capo negoziatore Barnier e a tutto il suo team negoziale per l'ottimo lavoro svolto. Positivo è un accordo commerciale basato sul principio "zero dazi" che va nella direzione da noi auspicata dall'inizio, nonché le misure in tema di appalti pubblici, telecomunicazioni, dogane, aviazione, commercio marittimo e digitale, riguardanti in particolare le piccole e medie imprese.

Bene la tabella di marcia che il Regno Unito ha presentato il 31 marzo all'Unione europea e i recenti progressi tra il Regno Unito e l'Unione europea sull'attuazione dell'accordo di recesso e sui controlli di frontiera sulle merci che arrivano in Irlanda del Nord dalla Gran Bretagna.

Al tempo stesso auspichiamo un pieno rispetto agli accordi del Venerdì Santo al fine di garantire pace e stabilita in Irlanda del Nord. Ma questo, per quanto ci riguarda, è solo l'inizio per porre le basi per la creazione di relazioni positive con il Regno Unito e di lavorare in modo costruttivo per risolvere ulteriori questioni pratiche e fare progressi in altre aree, come le problematiche commerciali su entrambi i lati della Manica che colpiscono le imprese europee, il riconoscimento delle qualifiche professionali e la protezione degli investimenti.

Consentitemi, a tal proposito, anche un riferimento alla riserva di adeguamento della Brexit di cui ci stiamo occupando, essendo molto importante perché possa fornire un sostegno agli Stati membri. È fondamentale avviare le consultazioni per un coordinamento ad hoc con un'assemblea parlamentare congiunta con i rappresentanti del Parlamento europeo e del Parlamento britannico.

Concludo, ribadendo che se è vero che il Regno Unito lascia l'Unione europea, al tempo stesso è fondamentale stabilire una partnership forte e privilegiata, anche alla luce delle sfide presenti e future che insieme dobbiamo vincere.

 
  
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  Idoia Villanueva Ruiz (The Left). – Señora presidenta, la futura relación entre la Unión Europea y el Reino Unido, lejos de ser un acuerdo ideal, ya está aplicándose desde el 1 de enero y ha servido para reducir la incertidumbre de miles de personas. La alta ambición climática del acuerdo y los compromisos de no retroceder en derechos laborales y sociales son dos elementos que celebramos. Pero, hoy, ya todo decidido, no hay excusas para realizar una reflexión crítica sobre lo que ha supuesto la última década de la Unión.

Es la primera vez que se ha organizado una salida, demostrándose que compromisos y consensos sellados durante décadas pueden romperse. Todo ello es resultado de las profundas contradicciones políticas de la Unión Europea y el abandono en la crisis de sus políticas a millones de ciudadanos.

No hemos sido capaces de configurarnos como un proyecto de futuro y ahora la pandemia está agravando problemas estructurales. La Unión Europea no está a la altura del momento: el bloqueo del levantamiento de las patentes, la construcción de la Europa fortaleza sin derechos o la permisividad con quienes atentan contra los derechos de las mujeres y la diversidad en el seno de la Unión son ejemplo de ello.

No podemos seguir huyendo hacia adelante, tenemos la oportunidad de ser valientes. Ante las reformas necesarias, necesitamos fortalecer la democracia y una autonomía estratégica que responda a las necesidades de las mayorías.

 
  
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  Tiziana Beghin (NI). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il Regno Unito è il terzo partner commerciale dell'Unione europea ed è il primo in ordine di importanza tra i Paesi con cui abbiamo concluso un accordo commerciale.

Approvare questo accordo è essenziale perché porta finalmente la chiarezza che le nostre imprese e i nostri cittadini si meritano dopo anni di incertezza. Grazie a questa intesa, la quasi totalità dell'export europeo entrerà in Inghilterra senza dazi e i nostri cittadini potranno visitare il paese senza visti. Eppure questo è un accordo che approviamo non senza qualche riserva: intanto, il rammarico perché il Regno Unito era un paese membro e perché, nonostante sia molto meglio dell'alternativa, restano alcuni punti critici che l'Europa e il Regno Unito dovrebbero risolvere al più presto.

Primo tra tutti il nodo delle qualifiche professionali, essenziale per garantire la mobilità di migliaia di professionisti europei che lavorano e vogliono lavorare nel Regno Unito, ma anche i servizi, grandi assenti di questo accordo, il traffico e la protezione dei dati personali, l'aggiornamento automatico della lista di indicazioni geografiche protette e le questioni di mutuo riconoscimento.

In tutti questi settori dobbiamo raggiungere un accordo vasto e comprensivo il prima possibile ed evitare tante mini-Brexit, tanti mini-accordi che possono protrarre l'incertezza per anni. La Brexit è costata molto ai nostri cittadini e alle nostre imprese: facciamo in modo che questo accordo sia l'occasione di voltare pagina.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Madam President, Brexit was never going to be easy, but with 40 years of close cooperation between us, it did not need to be this hard. But today should only be a day of decisiveness. So I will vote to ratify the TCA and I urge every single Member to do the same.

My regret is that Brexit has actually occurred and has created a lot of unnecessary tension and conflict on the way. Many political issues are still contentious, both within the UK and the EU. And although businesses have been faced with severe difficulties many are coping and discovering new potential avenues and solutions. The flexibility and resilience of the private sector and civil society should be commended for this.

Securing the TCA took years of effort across the EU institutions. It’s never been a secret that Ireland would be the Member State most affected by Brexit. Michel Barnier, my friend and esteemed negotiator, has effectively become an honorary Irish man for the understanding he has shown for our unique situation. Yet I must also commend the diligent, tireless and attentive role that Vice-President Šefčovič has played, especially in recent weeks. Thank you Vice-President.

The TCA protects us from the damaging consequences of a no-deal outcome and provides a new, more stable basis on which to rebuild EU-UK relations. Ratification will also provide certainty to our citizens and businesses. The vote today follows many weeks of scrutiny of all aspects of the TCA agreement, especially as no such scrutiny took place in Westminster.

On the protocol, what is still needed is courageous and responsible leadership to actually use the existing structures to ensure the protocol functions in a way that works for everyone, north and south on the island of Ireland, as well as protecting the single market. Other easier alternatives were offered, but this is the path that was chosen. It does every citizen a disservice if some political leaders hide from this fact.

On a broader level, in March 2019 my then colleague, Richard Ashworth MEP, spoke passionately in this House, saying no British Prime Minister explained what the EU did, what are the benefits and why it matters. They never defended untruths that were spoken and they never took ownership of the decisions they took in Council.

He was right. Brexit should be a cautionary tale for the people of Europe. But even more so it should stand as a cautionary tale to the leaders of Europe because Brexit is applicable to every Member State. I hope that the lessons of holding such a pivotal vote like Brexit, without sufficient preparation, are not lost on us. This is not a process that should be emulated by any democratic nation, especially on the island of Ireland. Please vote for the TCA.

 
  
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  Bernd Lange (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar und Michel Barnier!

Thanks a lot for your patience and for your engagement and for your tough negotiations. I think that’s really important with regard to the British Government, which is not the most trustworthy government we have ever known. So once again, thanks a lot for that.

Ein bekannter Fußballtrainer hat mal gesagt: „Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel“ – After the game is before the game. Und genau das ist es, worum es geht: Wir müssen jetzt sehen, dass wir das Handels- und Partnerschaftsabkommen nutzen, um die zukünftigen Beziehungen auszugestalten und es umzusetzen. Da ist natürlich z. B. die Frage der Finanzdienstleistungen: Wir wollen natürlich auch in diesem Bereich mit dem Vereinigten Königreich kooperieren, aber es kann nicht sein, dass Finanzdienstleistungen auf den europäischen Markt kommen, die unseriösen Praktiken und unseriösen Erlösen entsprechen, und wir müssen auch Finanzdienstleistungen unter die europäische Aufsicht stellen.

Oder: Wir werden sehr genau beobachten, ob die Wettbewerbsgleichheit eingehalten wird – in Großbritannien gibt es Diskussionen über Exportzonen, Exporthilfen, die unter Dumpingbestimmungen dann agieren sollen; das ist natürlich nicht akzeptabel. Oder: Wir sehen sehr genau die Diskussion über die Veränderung der Arbeitszeitgesetzgebung in Großbritannien, die vielleicht auch unlautere Vorteile bringen würde und den Menschen, den Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmern, schaden würde. Auch hier werden wir sehr genau darauf achten, um unsere Instrumente dann auch zu schärfen, um die Einhaltung zu garantieren.

Wir werden aber natürlich auch noch mal auf Nordirland sehr genau gucken. Es ist völlig inakzeptabel, dass es dort einseitige Maßnahmen gibt, und ich würde auch Boris Johnson bitten, den Theaterdonner sein zu lassen, sondern wirklich zu den Vereinbarungen zu stehen und nicht noch zusätzlich Öl ins Feuer zu gießen und den Konflikt anzuheizen. Wir haben eine Lösung gefunden, die den Frieden in Nordirland sichert – lassen Sie uns das auch garantieren!

Wir haben in dem Abkommen auch sichergestellt, dass wir Sanktionen setzen können, wenn es Verfehlungen gibt – das ist übrigens auch ein Modell, das ich in anderen Handelsabkommen auch gern sehen würde. Ich finde auch gut, dass wir eine sehr enge Zusammenarbeit mit der Kommission und dem Parlament vereinbart haben, sodass wir als Parlament auch initiativ werden können. Auch das, glaube ich, ist wichtig für zukünftige Vereinbarungen – dass hier das Parlament die demokratische Kontrolle wirklich ausführen kann. Also auch hier gilt: Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel.

And let me say to the British people, whatever the Johnson government is doing, really you are staying European, our doors are still open, they are open, and you will never walk alone.

 
  
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  Morten Petersen (Renew). – Fru Formand! Allerførst vil jeg gerne sige en stor tak til Michel Barnier og hans hold, som utrætteligt har arbejdet hårdt i denne sag. Brexit har ingen vindere, kun tabere. Det står klart efter det seneste års tovtrækkeri og usikkerhed om englændernes fremtidige tilknytning til det europæiske. Jeg har selv haft fornøjelsen af at besøge landmænd og fiskere, industrien, talt med handlende, med studerende, der kommer i klemme. Ja, stort set alle, der siger, at det på alle måder er en ulykke, at et så stort og så nærtstående land for os, vælger at melde sig ud. Det er en ulykke for dem. Det er en ulykke for os, og det først og fremmest en ulykke for helt almindelige mennesker, der kommer i klemme i den her relation, og som desværre kommer til at opleve konsekvenserne af Boris Johnsons løgnagtige adfærd.

Det er aldrig før sket, at to parter har forhandlet om at gøre kagen mindre. Siden Anden Verdenskrig, jamen så har alle handelsforhandlinger jo drejet sig om at handle mere med hinanden, ikke mindre. Om at fjerne barrierer for samhandel og ikke om at gøre det sværere. Men det er altså det, vi gør nu, og vi har nu bøvlet og bakset med den aftale, vi vedtager i dag, så vi forhåbentlig kan komme videre. Det har været virkelig besværligt, ikke mindst fordi vi har oplevet, hvordan englænderne selv har skabt tvivl om, hvorvidt de overhovedet ville overholde de aftaler, som de selv har skrevet under på. Det håber vi selvfølgelig på, at de vil gøre, men fra EU's side må vi også gøre det helt klart, at vi ikke må eller vil gamble med EU's indre marked. Der skal være lige konkurrencevilkår også fremover, så derfor kommer vi til at følge udviklingen meget nøje. Og hvis det viser sig, at englænderne ikke lever op til, hvad de har forpligtet sig til, ja så vil vi være helt klar til at handle fra EU's side, det er vi også fra Europa-Parlamentets side.

 
  
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  Roman Haider (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, meine Damen und Herren! Der Brexit ist jetzt endgültig über die Bühne gegangen, und ich möchte an dieser Stelle nicht verhehlen, dass mir das Ausscheiden Großbritanniens aus der EU sehr, sehr leidtut. Großbritannien ist nicht nur einer der größten Handelspartner der EU, es ist auch ein europäisches Land mit einer langen demokratischen, freiheitlichen Tradition. Dass Großbritannien den Weg aus der EU gewählt hat, ist leider auch das Ergebnis fortgesetzter Verletzungen des Subsidiaritätsprinzips, fortschreitender Zentralisierung in der EU und nicht zuletzt auch das Ergebnis einer verantwortungslosen Grenzöffnungspolitik der EU und insbesondere auch einzelner EU-Mitgliedstaaten. Es gilt jetzt, die Verhältnisse zum Nachbarn Großbritannien zu ordnen und dann auf ein gutes, vertrauensvolles Verhältnis hinzuarbeiten.

Während der Brexit-Verhandlungen – und das sage ich hier auch ganz klar und deutlich: Während der Brexit-Verhandlungen ist dieses Verhältnis auch durch das Agieren der EU stark in Mitleidenschaft gezogen worden und hat stark gelitten. Es ist der Eindruck entstanden, die EU wolle die Briten für ihr demokratisches Votum quasi bestrafen, und gleichzeitig sollen offensichtlich auch Nachahmer abgeschreckt werden. Von dieser Sichtweise muss die EU sofort abrücken und Großbritannien auch wieder als wichtigen und guten Partner sehen. Da hilft es auch nichts, den Briten, wie heute hier geschehen, mangelnde Compliance und dergleichen vorzuwerfen.

Aber jede Krise bietet auch Chancen, und so wäre es jetzt endlich an der Zeit für die EU, die Lehren aus dem britischen Votum zu ziehen und über interne Reformen nachzudenken. Das betrifft insbesondere die ständige Ausweitung des Einflusses der EU zu Lasten der Mitgliedstaaten. Das verstößt nicht nur gegen das Subsidiaritätsprinzip; diese Politik führt auch zu einer zunehmenden Entfremdung der EU von den Bürgern.

Eine zweite Lehre gilt es auch, aus dem Brexit zu ziehen: Ein wirkungsvoller Grenzschutz – im Gegensatz zu den Plänen der EU-Kommission für einen neuen Migrations- und Einwanderungspakt – ist überlebensnotwendig und überlebenswichtig für die EU.

Kurz noch zum Abschluss: Wenn Sie sich jetzt fragen, warum die Impfkampagne beispielsweise in Großbritannien gut funktioniert, während in der EU ein regelrechtes Impfchaos herrscht – das liegt vor allem an den Prioritäten. Impfstoffbeschaffung und Krankheitsbekämpfung – das waren die Prioritäten in Großbritannien. Die höchsten Prioritäten in der EU waren die Umverteilung von Finanzmitteln und der Ausbau der Schuldenunion. Da braucht sich niemand mehr wundern.

 
  
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  Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, a British citizens’ organisation once told me that there is more interest in commodities, fish and trucks, than people. Citizens were never the core issue of this story. There were talks on taking sovereignty back, but we all know it was in fact about getting power back again on the business rules, and it then became, for the European Union, about protecting and strengthening its own market.

Article 50 did not allow the EU to come in front of those living in the UK, to fight for what was at stake and defend its concept of European citizenship. Once Brexit started, there was no consultation ever again on the outcomes and the challenges, and in the future it is not planned that citizens will be part of the monitoring. All this time, the EU considered that it was not its place to address the citizens directly, and the UK chose not to. But now citizens are paying a high price. In the UK, EU citizens will be selected to see who is worth staying. Administrative failures are preventing some people from registering and others have registered months ago but get no news and, in the end, there will be no paper document to prove their status.

In Northern Ireland, the EU was not given the authorisation to implement a permanent representation so, there again, in a context of tensions boiling over and uncertainty, the EU renounces fulfilling its responsibility to the inhabitants of Northern Ireland. In the EU, UK citizens will face different situations. Member States have not got the same rules and will not give the same rights. Students will not get scholarships. Some people are at risk of losing jobs and houses because of problems with their residence permit. And what about all of those the Member States are not managing to reach? The vulnerable and the precarious ones. Will they be near-to-stateless people in the European Union tomorrow? And where is the European one—stop—shop with enough resources to help all of these people to go through the next years?

 
  
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  Zbigniew Kuźmiuk (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani minister! Panie komisarzu! Dobrze się stało, że – wprawdzie w ostatniej chwili, ale jednak – udało się zawrzeć porozumienie pomiędzy Unią a Wielką Brytanią, bo jest ono przecież korzystne dla obydwu stron. Jego część – umowa handlowa – jest sukcesem UE-27, ponieważ jej brak stwarzałby zdecydowanie więcej problemów gospodarczych, dlatego że to Unia ma wyraźną nadwyżkę handlową w obrotach z Wielką Brytanią. Nadwyżka ta wynosiła w ostatnich latach ponad 100 miliardów funtów rocznie. Same tylko obroty żywnością ze Zjednoczonym Królestwem to 40 miliardów euro rocznie, a nadwyżka w tym handlu – 16 miliardów euro, a więc dla rolnictwa europejskiego to ważny rynek zbytu.

Problemami w części rolnej są jednak: brak zobowiązań dotyczących ochrony oznaczeń geograficznych i chronionych nazw pochodzenia, brak zabezpieczeń przed praktykami tzw. handlu zamiennego oraz art. 36 umowy pozwalający Wielkiej Brytanii na podjęcie działań polegających na ograniczeniu importu z Unii w przypadku poważnych trudności gospodarczych i społecznych bez udowadniania, że to ten import przyczynił się do tych trudności, a przecież to standard obowiązujący w porozumieniach w ramach Światowej Organizacji Handlu.

Statystyki za pierwsze miesiące obowiązywania umowy pomiędzy Unią a Wielką Brytanią pokazują wprawdzie spadek obrotów handlowych zarówno po stronie eksportu, jak i importu, ale być może jest on spowodowany sytuacją związaną z COVID-19 i zapasami poczynionymi przez firmy przed końcem poprzedniego roku. Ważne jest, że nie odnotowuje się już kłopotów w punktach odpraw – ani w Dunkierce, ani w Calais, a nowe procedury są wdrażane po stronie brytyjskiej etapami, przy zastosowaniu licznych uproszczeń.

Delegacja polska w ECR będzie głosowała za ratyfikacją tego porozumienia.

 
  
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  Chris MacManus (The Left). – Madam President, Vice—President of the Commission Šefčovič, the border in Ireland has been a central part of these negotiations. It divides townlands, farms, even homes; it makes no economic, political or geographical sense. For centuries, Britain maintained its presence by force of arms. When it could no longer occupy the whole island, it imposed an unwanted border leading to continued tension and conflict. Unfortunately, this border remains a point of tension while it exists.

The conversation on Irish unity as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement has now taken centre stage in Ireland, north and south, and many people in the north now see unity as their way back into the EU. The majority of the north voted against leaving the EU, with many viewing the Irish peace process as a European success story.

The TCA protects our peace process by providing a special status for the north of Ireland but there is a democratic deficit. Under the TCA, elected representatives in the north of Ireland have no role or no voice in shaping legislation they will be bound by. The importance of this Parliament’s resolution is that it calls for dialogue between the EU and political representatives and civic society in the north of Ireland. Let me be clear, this dialogue is vital and will contribute to reducing tensions and allowing the people of the whole island of Ireland to define their European future together.

 
  
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  Daniel Caspary (PPE). – Sehr geehrte Frau Präsidentin, geschätzte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir alle wissen: Im letzten Jahr ist Großbritannien aus der Europäischen Union ausgetreten, und seit Beginn dieses Jahres gilt vorläufig das erst kurz vor Weihnachten ausgehandelte Handels- und Kooperationsabkommen.

Um es einfach nochmal deutlich zu machen, was der Brexit bedeutet: Im Januar dieses Jahres schrumpfte das britische Bruttoinlandsprodukt im Vergleich zum Vormonat um 3 %, die Exporte aus Großbritannien in die Europäische Union brachen um 40 % ein. Nach aktuellen Berechnungen der Europäischen Kommission führt der Austritt der Briten beim Bruttoinlandsprodukt der Europäischen Union bis Ende nächsten Jahres zu einem Minus von einem halben Prozent, im Vereinigten Königreich wird die Wirtschaftskraft dagegen um mehr als 2 % sinken.

Der Brexit ist eine Katastrophe für Europa, für uns in der Europäischen Union, aber vor allem auch für die Bürgerinnen und Bürger in Großbritannien, und die Versprechungen, die die Brexiteers den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern gemacht haben – ein Großteil davon ist nicht wahr, und der Brexit ist nach wie vor ein Nachteil für alle Beteiligten auf beiden Seiten des Ärmelkanals.

Es ist aber auch ein richtiges Signal, dass wir als Europäische Union das Handels- und Kooperationsabkommen nun im Plenum beschließen. Wir haben uns aber auch die nötige Zeit genommen, das Abkommen zu prüfen. Es ist richtig, dass wir in den Fachausschüssen in den vergangenen vier Monaten hart gearbeitet haben und festgestellt haben, dass dieses Abkommen unseren Vorstellungen auch genügt.

Aber die britische Regierung leistet immer noch zu wenig, um das Austrittsabkommen sowie das Protokoll zu Irland und Nordirland vollständig umzusetzen. Genau dieser Teil gilt auch als Lackmustest für unsere künftige Partnerschaft. Unser Abkommen haben wir abgeschlossen im Geiste der Zusammenarbeit, der Kooperation und des guten Willens, und ich rufe vor allem die britische Regierung auf, diesen guten Willen in den anstehenden Gesprächen auch zu zeigen.

 
  
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  Paolo De Castro (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, caro Commissario, la ferita lasciata dalla Brexit è ancora aperta per quelli che hanno sempre creduto nel progetto europeo.

Nonostante questa ferita, l'Unione ha dimostrato di saper ripartire con uno slancio nuovo che, con la risposta alla crisi pandemica, getta le basi per un'Europa più moderna e sostenibile, capace di andare al di là di questi interessi nazionali che hanno tanto pesato negli ultimi anni. La Brexit e il successivo atteggiamento delle autorità britanniche ne sono un esempio. Per questo voglio ringraziare il nostro capo negoziatore, Michel Barnier, e tutto il team negoziale della Commissione per l'estenuante lavoro svolto.

Come Parlamento, abbiamo voluto analizzare questo lavoro in modo responsabile, pretendendo e ottenendo tempi ragionevoli per esercitare le nostre prerogative, nonostante la conclusione dei negoziati all'ultimo minuto avesse messo a serio rischio la democraticità dell'intero processo.

Un rischio che adesso possiamo dire sia valsa la pena correre: il testo che ci apprestiamo a votare rappresenta infatti un accordo ambizioso con elementi innovativi che dovranno essere alla base della futura politica commerciale dell'Unione, a partire da un level playing field fondato sulla clausola di non regressione degli standard produttivi, sociali, ambientali ed economici.

Una base solida resa vincolante dalla possibilità di mettere in campo misure unilaterali di ribaltamento della concorrenza. Su questa base bisogna continuare a costruire. L'accordo non può, infatti, rappresentare un punto di arrivo, ma è un punto di partenza in vista di relazioni future capace di promuovere gli interessi dei nostri cittadini e delle nostre imprese e di superare le barriere amministrative e burocratiche, che continuano a rallentare il flusso di merci tra le due sponde della Manica.

In questa partita, giocherà un ruolo cruciale la creazione dell'Assemblea interparlamentare, a condizione che a questa venga attribuito non soltanto il diritto di individuare le aree che necessitano di maggiore collaborazione, ma soprattutto di esprimere raccomandazioni vincolanti al Consiglio di partenariato, coinvolgendo le parti sociali.

Presidente, l'errore storico della Brexit, così come la mancata visione più volte dimostrata dal governo britannico non possono portarci a pensare che i futuri rapporti tra l'Unione e Regno Unito si limitino al campo commerciale. Abbiamo enormi interessi strategici comuni: sta a noi continuare a lavorare con l'obiettivo di ridurre le distanze che al momento appaiono incolmabili.

 
  
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  Liesje Schreinemacher (Renew). – Madam President, today is an historic day for the people in Europe and the UK. The past year we’ve been carving out our future relationship and our vote today marks the last step in establishing the legal framework for our future relations. A relief, because Brexit has been a bumpy ride, to say the least. Like a marriage without a solid pre-nup, the divorce can get extra messy. And while we managed to reach an acceptable divorce settlement and successfully fended off a disastrous no deal, issues continue to arise, issues that call for joint solutions and solutions that start with respecting the commitments that you signed up for, and not by acting unilaterally.

Having said that, most of the work in the European Parliament will only commence after the ratification of the agreement. We should have an important role in the implementation and enforcement of the TCA. So in the years to come, I will insist, and I will continue to insist, that our citizens and businesses receive the fair treatment they are entitled to. No unfair subsidies will be given to create unfair competition against our companies.

Lastly, all of our agreements need to be respected to the letter. This deal should give us more possibilities to ensure the mutually agreed foundations of our relationship, which both the EU and the UK signed up for. And for those citizens and businesses that have been hit hard by this new border between the EU and the UK recently, I remain hopeful. I remain hopeful that one day the UK will find its way back to the EU again, because we face the same global challenges and we have more to win by finding a response to these challenges together.

After five years of Brexit debate, I hope we can finally stop discussing our divorce and start to envision our new relationship as friends, neighbours and allies in our common future for our citizens and businesses on both sides of the Channel.

 
  
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  Antonio Maria Rinaldi (ID). – Signora presidente, onorevoli colleghi, fra due mesi, saranno cinque anni dal referendum sulla Brexit. Quante disgustose bugie abbiamo dovuto ascoltare da improvvisati novelli Catone che urlavano "Britannia delenda est" solo perché terrorizzati da un pericoloso precedente? Gli stessi che sostenevano convinti che con il recesso ci sarebbero stati solo due giorni di scorte alimentari e di medicinali e che il Regno Unito sarebbe sprofondato negli abissi dell'oceano.

Non hanno compreso invece la legittima volontà di un grande orgoglioso Paese che ha preferito esercitare in modo democratico la propria sovranità invece di delegarla a grigi burocrati che hanno dimostrato nei fatti di non saper gestire neanche un condominio.

Personaggi che se avessero lavorato in un'azienda privata sarebbero stati presi immediatamente a pedate. Non credete forse alle mie parole? Con questa maledetta pandemia i cittadini dell'Unione chiedevano soltanto due cose: primo, un serio ed efficace piano vaccinale; secondo, un'azione di sostegno economico rapido e adeguato per dare aiuto concreto alle persone e alle imprese.

Sul primo punto stiamo facendo ridere il mondo, al punto che la Commissione si è rifiutata di pubblicare i contratti integrali. Il Regno Unito su questo tema ci ha umiliato. Ho saputo che l'Unione europea ha fatto causa alla casa farmaceutica AstraZeneca. Speriamo che gli avvocati incaricati non siano gli stessi che hanno formulato i contratti l'anno scorso. Piuttosto, perché la Commissione non si avvale questa volta di qualche ottimo studio legale di Londra? Avrebbero la certezza di vincere!

Riguardo all'azione economica, a maggio prossimo, ricordo, sarà un anno dal lancio del Nex Generation EU di cui il Recovery è la colonna portante. Ebbene, di quest'ultimo, ancora non si è visto un solo centesimo, bloccati nelle paludi dei regolamenti, della burocrazia, delle condizionalità che non consentiranno la crescita sperata perché costringeranno gli Stati membri a fare investimenti a basso moltiplicatore.

Il Regno Unito ha invece potuto fare investimenti ad alto moltiplicatore e senza perdere né tempo prezioso al punto che desidero scommettere qui davanti a tutti voi che fra due anni la loro crescita sarà molto superiore a quella dell'Unione europea. La Brexit poteva pertanto essere un'ottima occasione per fare il mea culpa e rivedere radicalmente tutti i meccanismi su cui si fonda l'Unione europea, ad iniziare dalla sua governance economica, mentre invece ancora in troppi già riparlano di riattivare il Patto di stabilità e crescita prima che lo stesso Recovery sia esecutivo, dimostrando di non aver imparato la lezione.

Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum. Ci sono voluti cinque anni per arrivare finalmente a questo accordo, avendo ignorato per troppo tempo consapevolmente che il Regno Unito è acquirente netto di beni e servizi nei confronti dell'Unione e dalle mie parti si dice che il cliente ha sempre ragione… Ma forse chi si occupava della Brexit non lo sapeva?

Visto che nessuno fino ad ora ha avuto il coraggio e l'umiltà di chiedere scusa ai cittadini del Regno Unito per le bugie che sono state dette solo per aver osato non seguire più le imposizioni errate dell'Unione, allora lo faccio io in questo momento in qualità di membro di questo Parlamento!

 
  
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  Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, again and again people ask me, like probably many of you: what advantages does it actually have for me that we are part of the European Union? I would then usually highlight things like the political cooperation between neighbouring countries that has led to a long-lasting peace inside of the EU, the obvious economic advantages, freedom of movement for EU citizens, the Erasmus programme, practical things like the abolishment of roaming charges, and so on and so on.

With Brexit, more and more of really everyday life examples pile up, like for example this dress. I ordered it in January online from a small-scale tailor in England for EUR 90. I received it about a month later and had to pay EUR 48 of fees and taxes – more than half of its original price. I honestly thought that this cannot be true, so I contacted the Belgian customs authorities, and here is their reply to my request: ‘Dear Sir/Madam, your package arrived on 16 February 2021 and unfortunately has to be cleared through customs. If this parcel had arrived before 1 January 2021 it would have been free of taxes.’ Just another example of the obvious.

Brexit is not a project of freedom, it is a project of building barriers. Brexit is not a project of prosperity, it is a project of bureaucracy. Brexit is not making Britain big and global, it is making it smaller and inward-looking. And this deal can, unfortunately, not change any of this – but it can be a starting point for moving back closer together, for rebuilding what Brexit has destroyed.

This deal might not be a final answer to the challenges that lie ahead of all of us, but it can be a basis for conversation. So let us take this deal, expand it where it is incomplete, change it where it needs changing, and build a relationship that can actually be sustainable and mutually beneficial again.

 
  
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  Michiel Hoogeveen (ECR). – Madam President, Brexit is here to stay. As a sovereign country, the UK had its right to leave and that choice should be respected. In the meantime, let Brexit be a warning for the European Union because the direction our Union is heading will only lead to more countries wanting to leave. Our combined fiscal deficits is at nightmare proportions. The European Commission has even started issuing common debt and the European Central Bank prints money like there were no tomorrow.

We are at a crossroads. Are we heading towards this federalised European Union or do we want a community of sovereign European nation—states? It is often stated that my generation is the so—called anti—Brexit generation. Well, I’m standing here today in front of you as a representative of a new generation of conservatives that doesn’t want your open borders, that doesn’t want to pay for the excessive debt that is needed for capital transfers from north to south and that doesn’t want an overarching, ever—expanding bureaucracy that tells us what we can or cannot do.

Let Brexit be the sparkle that ignites true reform in the European Union. An EU where sovereignty is no longer a dirty word but instead the cornerstone of our common future.

 
  
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  Sira Rego (The Left). – Señora presidenta, me gustaría agradecer en primer lugar al señor Barnier el trabajo realizado y, desde la Izquierda, inevitablemente hacer algún apunte crítico, sobre todo porque estamos ante un acuerdo comercial sin mecanismos vinculantes en materia de derechos, apenas una declaración de buenas intenciones.

Habla de mantener los estándares medioambientales existentes y, sin embargo, mantiene la presencia del Reino Unido en Euratom. Abro un paréntesis: el Reino Unido tiene quince reactores nucleares activos muy cerca de nuestras fronteras, sobre los que perdemos toda capacidad de control o aplicación de normas vinculantes.

Otro elemento importante: la pérdida del derecho de circulación, que supone una regresión de derechos. Aunque es buena noticia que Gibraltar se quede en Schengen, gracias también a los esfuerzos del Gobierno de España.

Creemos que la Comisión debe garantizar la situación de los comunitarios y comunitarias en el Reino Unido. Solo en el caso de España, hablamos de unas 250 000 personas censadas. Que vele para que no se les apliquen medidas discriminatorias en el empleo y que se garantice que quienes están teniendo problemas para registrarse o quedan fuera de plazo recibirán el apoyo que necesitan. En definitiva, no dejar a nadie atrás.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Senhora Presidente, Senhora Secretária de Estado, Senhor Vice—Presidente, o acordo de comércio e cooperação entre a União Europeia e o Reino Unido marca uma nova etapa na política comercial da União Europeia. E não podia ser de outra maneira porque, evidentemente, o Reino Unido tem um lugar absolutamente único e especial no contexto da relação com o continente europeu. Não há mais nenhum Estado nem mais nenhum país que tenha a história de relação com a União Europeia que tem o Reino Unido e, por isso, este acordo tinha de ter esta singularidade, tinha de ter esta particularidade.

Mas há um ponto que é muito importante e que vale para todos nós, europeus, a que me dirijo agora. É preciso deixar o discurso do ressentimento, o discurso até de alguma vingança e o discurso da rivalidade face aos nossos amigos britânicos. É fundamental perceber que não há Europa nem há afirmação da Europa sem o contributo britânico. Pode haver União Europeia, mas não haverá Europa.

E, por isso, embora devamos ser muito firmes, por exemplo, na questão irlandesa, por exemplo, no assegurar que as condições ambientais, as condições sociais são cumpridas com equidade entre as duas partes, não devemos enveredar por um discurso, que vemos muitas vezes, que é um discurso de alguma sobranceria e de algum despeito que eu penso que trará sempre um efeito negativo a estas relações. Nunca se esqueçam: a Europa está hoje sob várias ameaças, nomeadamente a leste, com a Rússia e com a Turquia, e também com a China, e o Reino Unido será sempre fundamental para o equilíbrio e a saúde política da União Europeia. É isso que hoje não devemos esquecer.

 
  
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  Tonino Picula (S&D). – Madam President, at the end of every chapter it’s right to reflect on everything one benefited from and was concerned about. I think our negotiating team did a great job, but my general impression is that our UK partners mostly addressed the latter. With the many consequences of Brexit, I especially regret their decision not to continue participating in programmes such as Erasmus.

This House has stressed many times the significance of protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa. Therefore I call on the UK Government to resolve the unjust discrimination of five EU Member States as regards the working visa fees. I also call on the UK Government to ensure that the EU delegation to the UK has an appropriate diplomatic status.

Furthermore, I want to reiterate the importance of the Good Friday Agreement in maintaining peace and stability in Northern Ireland. The recent riots were very disturbing, and I believe that we need to send a strong message to support the best possible relationship between communities.

In all further steps with the UK, I would also emphasise the role of the European Parliament. We have been very constructive and I believe we need to be fully involved in future relations. That is why I would welcome the formation of the joint European Parliament—UK Parliament partnership assembly as a valuable asset for cooperation.

Finally, as regards our foreign, security and defence policy, I call for more ambition in our cooperation. We have many mutual issues, security challenges and an increasingly multifaceted international environment, with topics ranging from China, Russia and the Western Balkans to combating climate change. I firmly believe we can cooperate better. However, it’s up to the UK Government to show willingness to build and develop a mutual beneficial membership.

 
  
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  Hilde Vautmans (Renew). – Voorzitter, het is al bijna vijf jaar geleden: de dag dat de Britten met nipte meerderheid besloten ons te verlaten, en in mijn ogen nog steeds een historische vergissing en de start van onzekere tijden. Vandaag kijken we vooruit en er ligt een samenwerkingsakkoord op tafel. Is het een perfect akkoord? Neen. Het had ambitieuzer gekund, en de rol van ons Parlement groter.

Brexit heeft iedereen, en vooral onze bedrijven, heel hard geraakt. Alleen al in Vlaanderen worden bedrijven met een omzetdaling tot wel 6 % geconfronteerd, en ook handel voeren met het VK is 5 % duurder geworden. En toch is het een degelijk akkoord dat de negatieve gevolgen zo veel mogelijk beperkt, een compromis dat rechtszekerheid zal bieden aan burgers en bedrijven.

Maar niet alle problemen zijn van de baan. Naast de economische klap zien we helaas ook de onrust in Noord-Ierland fors toenemen. Wij van Renew Europe verwachten dat het VK zijn aangegane verbintenissen nakomt. Een goed akkoord kan alleen op wederzijds vertrouwen gebaseerd zijn. Zowel het terugtrekkingsakkoord als dat voor onze toekomstige betrekkingen moet zo snel en volledig mogelijk worden uitgevoerd.

Wij gaan voor dit samenwerkingsakkoord stemmen, maar het is geen blanco cheque. Wij zullen als Parlement heel nauw toezien op de naleving van verplichtingen van onze Britse vrienden, en als ze een belofte niet nakomen, zullen we ingrijpen. Vertrouwen in elkaar is essentieel om een relatie te doen slagen.

 
  
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  Gunnar Beck (ID). – Madam President, today is a good day because, exceptionally and for the first time in two years, Members are asked to approve an act that’s not patently undemocratic, doesn’t cost billions of taxpayers’ money and isn’t altogether unlawful. That an agreement was reached at all is in no small measure the achievement of Michel Barnier and his realism, diplomatic acumen and great perseverance. It shows that the EU may yet serve a purpose if it focuses on commerce and trade and appoints someone who knows what he’s doing.

The EU commenced trade negotiations with maximum demands for ECJ jurisdiction over any trade deal, full regulatory alignment on EU terms and pre-Brexit fishing rights: unprecedented demands hitherto never asked of any trade partner. Britain simply wanted a Canada—style deal, regulatory independence and legal sovereignty. Eventually the EU gave way on the ECJ omnipotence in return for UK acceptance of the regulatory status quo. Instead of dynamic regulatory alignment, the UK agreed to a limited non—regression mechanism that allows for EU sanctions to offset higher EU costs imposed by a Green Deal not binding on the UK. Such trade sanctions leave Britain to trade freely with other countries and UK sovereignty is not unduly abridged. The deal mitigates disruption to supply chains and to EU—UK trade. It is vital to Ireland and beneficial to most parties concerned. The majority resolution welcomes these facts and hails the deal as an EU negotiating success, though it fails to mention that the TCA prevents EU consumers from offsetting higher so-called sustainable prices with cheaper imports. Sadly, there’s no law against self—harm.

The resolution also calls Britain’s withdrawal from the EU an historic mistake, which will impede the growth of the UK’s large service sector. Let’s look at the facts. It is early days but, according to the IMF, the UK economy is expected to recover to pre-COVID levels by mid—2022, based on 6% growth this and next year, compared with a partial annual 4% EU recovery, and, while UK long—term unemployment should average 2% next year, it is 4.2% for the eurozone. Simply by leaving, the UK is now saving EUR 14 billion in terms of budget contributions each year, EUR 17 billion for the SURE unemployment programme and a staggering EUR 140 billion gross contributions for non-participation in Next Generation EU. Britain’s relative success is manifest above all in its vaccination programme. Seventy percent of all UK adults have been vaccinated, three times as many as in the eurozone. As a result, life is returning to normal in the UK, while many EU countries remain locked down. If Brexit is a success, it will be the beginning of the unravelling of the EU. This was, and remains, the view of many here.

Well then, Brexit seems, at least initially, a success and the historic mistake may have been the euro. Today, more British people think Brexit was the right choice more than the 52% who voted for it. The EU too has a choice. Either it reforms, focuses again on trade and commerce, and it may succeed again, or its leaders continue down the path of saving the planet and of integrating our continent by de—Europeanising it, and then it will fail. It will fail, no matter what, either as an integrated superstate, lingering on as a vast stagflation zone, or it will falter with one half—solvent country after another taking heart from Britain’s proof that life is possible outside the EU after all, and with modern Germany left as the last member standing like a blinded cyclops raging about whose fault it is. The answer of course was given by Odysseus: nobody but yourself.

Generosity over Northern Ireland will be a good way to start reform. The Withdrawal Agreement is hampering UK imports and has led to violence in Belfast. Let’s respect the Belfast Agreement in full and let’s have a soft Irish and a soft Irish sea border.

 
  
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  Grace O'Sullivan (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, today is another step in what has been a very, very long goodbye, as we bid a final farewell to our nearest neighbours and vote on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

From an Irish perspective there is little to celebrate. Like my colleagues in the Green EFA Group here in Parliament, I am hopeful that the new relationship with the UK will be a strong and positive one, preserving and building on long—standing cooperation and mindful of a mutual respect for fundamental rights. I do also, however, want to sound a note of caution when I say it is vital that standards are not sacrificed.

As we cooperate in governing and protecting our shared seas, the UK must not backtrack on environmental protection and marine biodiversity. In fisheries, we must see the end of tensions if we are to sustainably manage stocks together. Let’s also endeavour to designate joint marine protected areas of great mutual benefit to the UK, to the EU and to our shared oceans.

Also peace on our island is crucial as a social, environmental and economic stability. Ireland’s offer to fund the Erasmus programme for Northern Ireland is one important way of supporting these aims and rewarding our younger generations rather than punishing them for political decisions of their elders. In Ireland, we have a phrase ‘mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’ – encourage the youth and they will flourish.

 
  
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  Андрей Слабаков  (ECR). – . Г-жо Председател, аз съм потресен от резултата на тези преговори. Изглежда през последните пет години сте водили преговори по тези въпроси, за които очевидно е имало някакъв интерес. Културата и образованието обаче, както винаги, са оставени на произвола на съдбата. Как беше позволено на Обединеното кралство да въведе тежък режим за влизане на артисти и културни дейци на тяхна територия, без да има реципрочни мерки от страна на Европейския съюз? Може би не Ви изглежда важно, тъй като въобще не Ви интересуват европейските творци. Тези ограничения ще имат катастрофален ефект върху възможността им да влизат на британска територия и де факто затварят този пазар и тази част от публиката. Междувременно британските артисти и творци ще имат бърз и лесен достъп до цялата територия на Европейския съюз, където могат да извършват своята културна дейност. Предоставили сте им по-голям и по—богат пазар, без да получим нищо в замяна. На мен ми изглежда, че сякаш сте продали европейските творци и артисти. Не можем да имаме нормални добросъседски отношения, ако културните ни дейци нямат равни права. За какъв културен обмен говорим въобще? Трябва да договорим лесен достъп до Обединеното кралство за хора, които пътуват там, за да извършват творческа дейност. При сегашното споразумение оставяме нашите артисти да чакат за визи, които много често биват отхвърляни по политически причини. Подчертавам — в период, когато културният сектор страда най-тежко, това го подчертавам също, от тази пандемия, не можем да позволим да изоставим нашите творци по този начин. Може би за в бъдеще ще е по-добре да не се назначават бюрократи, които да преговарят от името на артистите, а хора с реален опит и разбиране за това как всъщност функционира секторът на културата.

 
  
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  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Madam President, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a disaster for Irish fishing and coastal communities. Ireland is losing 15% of its share of fish quota. The quota transfers in the agreement are hugely disproportionate and massively unfair on Ireland in comparison to other coastal Member States. Ireland’s mackerel, prawn, white fish and herring quotas would be decimated. Irish fishermen and —women want rebalanced, fair quotas. They will not accept the decommissioning of boats. Decommissioning of boats would mean decommissioning communities, communities like Duncannon, Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East, Castletownbere in southern Ireland. They’ve had enough of it.

When the EU-UK deal is done and dusted, the EU needs to look at getting concessions from the bigger Member States and give Irish fishermen and —women quotas that have some measure of fairness. But the Brexit Adjustment Reserve is also vital for Ireland and especially for our fishing communities. The Commission’s proposal would at least protect those Member States worst affected by Brexit.

However, the draft report on the Reserve by both the Budgets and Fisheries Committee rapporteurs include a number of amendments which would significantly reduce Ireland’s percentage of the Reserve fund. The amendments are designed to favour the larger Member States. The fund is supposed to be a solidarity instrument and the Commission’s allocation method for the fund is fair.

Lastly, it’s mad that we had no problem to agreeing to continued cooperation with the UK over NATO. The majority of Irish people want nothing to do with NATO’s warmongering agenda.

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato (PPE). – Señora presidenta, siempre he mantenido que el Brexit era un fracaso y una mala noticia, tanto para la Unión Europea como para el Reino Unido.

Cada día que pasa nos damos más cuenta del terrible error. La única buena noticia ahora es que salvemos una salida sin acuerdo, porque esta sería aún más catastrófica para muchos sectores y para la cooperación bilateral.

Con este Acuerdo se establecen las bases de una relación comercial entre dos socios, que ⸺no nos engañemos⸺ deben entenderse por el bien de todos, pero especialmente de nuestras empresas, de nuestras pymes, de nuestros agricultores, de nuestros pescadores, que necesitan certezas y no más incertidumbres, y mucho menos ahora, cuando, además, están siendo tan duramente golpeados por la COVID-19. Ninguno de ellos puede verse atrapado en más costes ni en más procedimientos adicionales ni en más burocracia ni en más barreras arancelarias, si queremos que sean competitivos.

Siempre he sido una persona optimista, pero en esta ocasión las nefastas consecuencias del Brexit, que ya se dejan sentir en el sector agrario y muy especialmente en las exportaciones hortofrutícolas de algunas regiones europeas, como de la que yo provengo, las islas Canarias, me preocupan seriamente. Me preocupan y mucho los posibles acuerdos comerciales que el Reino Unido pueda firmar con terceros países y que tiendan a eliminar los mecanismos de salvaguarda que protegen a los sectores agrícolas europeos más sensibles, como el de las frutas y hortalizas, determinantes para la economía de muchas de nuestras regiones.

Me preocupa el sector pesquero, del que tantas veces he hablado desde esta tribuna y que ha sido clave en la consecución final del acuerdo del Brexit. Nuestro mensaje al respecto siempre fue contundente. Los pescadores de la Unión Europea y del Reino Unido han compartido las aguas de nuestros mares durante siglos y así debe seguir siendo de alguna manera. Es esencial la defensa de nuestro sector pesquero.

Nos guste o no, el Reino Unido y Europa están condenados a entenderse y es nuestra responsabilidad, desde este Parlamento, velar y conseguir que la aplicación de los acuerdos alcanzados se traduzca en mayores niveles de integración económica entre ambos socios. Si no, habremos vuelto a fracasar.

 
  
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  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – Voorzitter, ik ben er nogal zeker van dat de geschiedschrijvers zullen oordelen dat de brexit een historische fout is en dat geen enkele van de partijen – of het nu de Europese Unie of Groot-Brittannië is – hier veel benefits zal uithalen. En ik ben het daar eigenlijk wel mee eens, maar tegelijkertijd zeg ik vandaag dat ik blij ben en opgelucht dat we over dit akkoord kunnen stemmen, omdat het VK een belangrijke partner en vriend is en blijft. En de relatie vandaag is delicaat en moeilijk. We zijn heel veel bezig geweest met de vaccinatiestrategie in Europa, en de manier waarop we met elkaar zijn omgegaan, en met het VK, was niet goed. Hoe we over AstraZeneca gestruikeld zijn, was niet goed.

Dit akkoord is dus belangrijk en moet een stap zijn om vertrouwen te bieden voor toekomstige betrekkingen, want we hebben niet alleen het verleden gemeenschappelijk, maar vooral ook een toekomst. Denk aan klimaat, maar denk vooral ook aan de geopolitiek en hoe we samen vanuit democratische instellingen moeten en kunnen optreden tegen autocratische samenlevingen en regimes, zoals China.

In het akkoord – en dat wil ik vandaag extra benadrukken – hebben we er rond het level playing field voor gezorgd dat er hoge sociale en milieunormen van toepassing zijn. En bovendien hebben we er in de onderhandelingen voor gezorgd dat die afdwingbaar zijn, heel erg afdwingbaar, en als daar niet aan wordt tegemoetgekomen, dan zijn sancties mogelijk. Ik wil dat benadrukken omdat dat in zijn soort de eerste keer is dat we een dergelijk zeer sterk TSD chapter hebben, want dat is het eigenlijk. En voor onze fractie is dat ook de benchmark voor alle toekomstige TSD chapters.

Dus laat me concluderen: ja, we moeten dit goedkeuren, maar laten we vooral naar de toekomst kijken en bouwen aan een sterke, op regels gebaseerde, warme verhouding met onze vrienden in het Verenigd Koninkrijk.

 
  
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  Pierre Karleskind (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, le 18 décembre, ici même, un peu comme un avertissement et à quelques jours donc de la conclusion de l’accord entre les équipes de négociation européenne et britannique, je disais que nous devions à tout prix éviter une situation de négociation permanente.

Évidemment, nous allons voter cet accord, conscients que nous ne saurions remettre en cause les acquis importants qu’il représente, mais conscients aussi que ces quatre premiers mois de mise en œuvre n’ont pas été les plus simples pour le secteur particulier de la pêche.

Je veux me faire le relais de ce secteur, avec lequel j’ai beaucoup échangé au cours de ces quatre derniers mois. Je sais, Monsieur le Commissaire, votre engagement et celui du commissaire Sinkevičius pour parvenir à un accord sur les quotas 2021, en ce qui concerne notamment la délivrance de licences par les autorités britanniques, mais il convient que nous rétablissions une visibilité qui était déjà trop réduite pour le secteur de la pêche. Pour certains pêcheurs que j’ai pu voir à Boulogne, c’est tout simplement une partie de l’activité qui a disparu depuis le 1er janvier. Pour ceux-là, nous serons au rendez-vous avec la réserve d’ajustement au Brexit, nous ne les laisserons pas tomber, c’est important de le redire.

Mais je veux dire aussi, à propos de la pêche, que ce qui s’est ouvert avec cet accord sur le Brexit, c’est une déstabilisation globale de ce qui se passe dans l’Atlantique Nord. Cela a eu des conséquences et un effet «boule de neige», en quelque sorte, avec le Groenland et la Norvège. Alors, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, il nous conviendra de veiller à ce que dans les années qui viennent, dans les mois qui viennent, nous puissions dissiper le brouillard dans lequel la pêche est plongée depuis le 23 juin 2016.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, it is regrettable that judicial cooperation in civil matters was not part of the EU—UK future partnership negotiations and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). This lack of cooperation may have disastrous effects on European consumers and also on victims of human rights violations all around the world.

The key here is the Lugano Convention, an international legal cooperation agreement. Without this agreement in place, it will be very difficult for anyone to hold UK companies accountable. For both companies and consumers in the EU, this may mean that court decisions from the EU may not in practice be enforceable in the UK anymore. Access to justice may require very expensive litigation in the UK.

For victims of human rights violations, this may mean that they cannot rely on parent company liability in the UK as the UK courts may consider that another forum outside the UK is more appropriate to decide the case. Once again, the victims may be stuck in court in a third country, in a litigation against a subsidiary or supplier, resulting in a court decision that may be impossible to enforce.

The good thing, however, is that the UK does not want this to happen. The UK wants to rejoin the Lugano Convention and all other members of the Convention support its membership. We need more legal cooperation, not less, and the EU must not block the UK’s accession.

 
  
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  Eugen Jurzyca (ECR). – Pani predsedajúca, uzavretie obchodnej dohody je skvelou správou pre Európsku úniu aj Spojené kráľovstvo. Jednak sme tým predišli no-deal brexitu a ďalším hospodárskym škodám, a máme tiež rámec na ďalšiu obchodnú a hospodársku spoluprácu do budúcnosti.

Dobrovoľný obchod je vždy výhodný pre obe strany. Vzájomne výhodná spolupráca je budúcnosťou pre vzájomné vzťahy Európskej únie a Spojeného kráľovstva aj v ďalších oblastiach, napríklad obrana, bezpečnosť, výskum a vývoj.

Objem vzájomného obchodu v tovaroch medzi EÚ a Spojeným kráľovstvom sa po Novom roku prepadol o desiatky percent a dodnes sa nevrátil k pôvodným hodnotám. Prioritou by malo byť čo najefektívnejšie spracovanie novovzniknutej byrokracie na únosnú mieru, aby obchod fungoval bez zbytočných bariér.

Pamätať na to treba aj koncom tohto roka, keď budú firmy musieť preukazovať splnenie pravidiel pôvodu, tzv. rules of origin.

Európska únia by tiež mohla preukázať o niečo väčšiu flexibilitu v oblasti práv na cezhraničné činnosti v prípade finančných služieb pre Spojené kráľovstvo, napríklad passporting rights. Jednoduchší prístup k finančným službám v londýnskom City je aj záujmom mnohých firiem a finančných inštitúcií v Európskej únii.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz (The Left). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Šefčovič, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir ratifizieren heute das Abkommen, mit dem nicht nur direkte Handelsfragen geregelt werden, sondern auch die begleitenden Regeln und Standards. Die Linke wird für das Abkommen stimmen; in dieser „lose-lose“-Situation ist es das kleinste Übel.

Die Kooperation unter den Fraktionen war vorbildlich. Unsere Kernforderungen wurden akzeptiert, vor allem die Priorisierung des Friedens in Irland durch Vermeiden der Rückkehr zu einer Handelsgrenze quer durch die irische Insel, aber auch beim Verbot der Absenkung der Sozialstandards zur Erlangung eines Wettbewerbsvorteils.

Als Ko-Gesetzgeber der EU sagen wir heute nicht nur „Ja“, sondern werden künftig vor allem verfolgen müssen, ob und wie sich auch die Regierung Johnson an den Vertrag halten wird. Und: Wir müssen zügig den Rahmen festlegen, in dem sich die Zivilgesellschaft, die Gewerkschaften, aber auch einzelne Bürgerinnen und Bürger an der Kontrolle der Einhaltung der Spielregeln beteiligen können – gerade, weil es um mehr als einen funktionierenden Deal und Markt geht.

 
  
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  Othmar Karas (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Vizepräsident, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! Das Abkommen ist der kleinste gemeinsame Nenner, der derzeit von der Mitgliedschaft des Vereinigten Königreichs in der Europäischen Union übriggeblieben ist. Leider war die Europäische Union bereits gezwungen, ein Vertragsverletzungsverfahren wegen der Gefährdung des Friedensprozesses auf der irischen Insel einzuleiten. Leider wurde der gesamte Finanzdienstleistungsbereich noch nicht verhandelt. Leider wurde die Zusammenarbeit in den Bereichen Außen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik vom Abkommen ausgeklammert. Leider hat das Vereinigte Königreich die Teilnahme am Bildungsprogramm Erasmus abgelehnt – ein Nachteil für die Jugend auf beiden Seiten des Kanals.

Ich könnte diese Liste des Plus und Minus fortsetzen. Ich möchte aber den letzten Teil meiner Rede dafür verwenden, um uns selbst auch die Frage zu stellen, ob wir nicht auch innerhalb unserer eigenen Mitgliedstaaten Vorkommnisse haben, die im Vereinigten Königreich zum Brexit geführt haben. Wir müssen uns die Frage stellen, ob wir die Sorgen, Ängste, Hilferufe der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in unseren Mitgliedstaaten richtig beantworten.

Warum können Politiker und Parteien mit Schuldzuweisungen an die Europäische Union punkten? Warum bietet für zu viele Bürger der Nationalpopulismus den Eindruck von Schutz und Stärke? Warum sind wir so ohnmächtig gegen Fake News, Lügen, Verhetzungen von Recht, Werten und unseren Grundfreiheiten? Warum werden die EU—Bürgerinnen und EU-Bürger aus anderen Mitgliedstaaten noch immer als Ausländer bezeichnet? Und warum verkünden Regierungschefs der EU, dass sie von dieser unabhängig werden wollen, und beklagen Beschlüsse der EU, bei denen sie selbst anwesend sind?

Wir sollten diese Fragen im Zusammenhang mit der Debatte um die Zukunft Europas forcieren, und wir müssen die soziale und demokratiepolitische Frage zum Thema machen.

 
  
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  Marek Belka (S&D). – Madam President, today’s debate and vote on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the UK marks a long overdue end to the process of Great Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. It is worth repeating that Britain’s withdrawal from our Union is a historical mistake. However, the negotiated agreement is a success, which limits the negative consequences this process brings.

The stories of frictionless trade after Brexit are now long gone, as consumers and SMEs become victims of trade barriers which still exist even if tariffs do not. We can only wish that in time, barriers will be overshadowed by new business opportunities, but nothing will truly replace the benefits of a fully open single market.

That being said, I would like to point out another crucial topic of our debate. It is an open secret that the UK might have been influencing the EU’s tax havens blacklist. What do the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have in common? All are dependent on the UK Government’s power to impose a veto on their decisions and all are considered as top tax havens. Many of their shady financial dealings are also dealt with through the City of London, yet another tax haven for many.

I hope that while we are on the path to finding a global deal on the fight against tax havens Prime Minister Johnson won’t spoil the struggle, just like the Grinch wanted to steal Christmas, as BoJo sometimes hints. I hope that London will be calling, but with hints for its dependencies that the time of shady economics is over for the EU, the US and the world. An honest Brexit deal should also lead to this.

 
  
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  Sophia in 't Veld (Renew). – Madam President, Commissioner, this week we will be voting on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with a heavy heart – I think most of us, anyway – and I hope the day will come when we will be together in this Chamber again with our British friends, determining the future of this continent together, rather than negotiating almost as opponents.

I fear that part of this agreement has been a bit underexposed. There’s been a lot of attention for trade, fisheries and other aspects, but the whole chapter to do with security, police and justice cooperation and migration, has been negotiated in a very different spirit. I have to say that I’m worried about the implementation of that part of the agreement because, unlike the other parts, which are related to trade and so forth, I do feel that here we cannot always rely entirely on the EU institutions, including the European Commission, unfortunately, for proper enforcement. Looking at the adequacy decision that the Commission is set to adopt to underpin the cooperation with the UK, we know it is legally flawed – we know that, the Commission knows it, and it’s deciding that adequacy decision for purely political reasons, and once again, a couple of years from now, we will be before the European Court of Justice. I hope that the Commission is, this time, going to be more strict and enforce properly, and also listen to the calls of the European Parliament.

 
  
  

VORSITZ: OTHMAR KARAS
Vizepräsident

 
  
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  Anna Cavazzini (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar! Ich will gerne ein paar Worte über die Natur des Abkommens verlieren. Das Abkommen ist nicht statisch und fertig, es wird ein lebendes Abkommen, ein living agreement. Es wird ständig weiterentwickelt, es schafft zig neue Gremien, und es werden in diesen Gremien höchst politische Entscheidungen getroffen.

Schön und gut. Die Krux ist aber, dass das Europäische Parlament hier nur eine Rolle am Katzentisch zugewiesen bekommt; dabei sind wir es doch, die zusammen mit dem Rat das letzte demokratische Wort bei der Rechtsetzung haben müssen und die sicherstellen müssen, dass über Pestizidrückstände oder die Anerkennung von Berufsqualifikationen hier in diesem Haus und nicht in irgendwelchen intransparenten Ausschüssen entschieden wird.

Was sich schon bei anderen Handelsabkommen, wie CETA, gezeigt hat, das ist hier im Abkommen mit den Vereinigten Königreich auf die Spitze getrieben: Mehr und mehr Macht für die Exekutive, für die Kommission und auch für den Rat, und das Parlament und somit auch die Öffentlichkeit bleiben außen vor.

Wir Abgeordnete müssen heute unser Recht und unsere Pflicht der demokratischen Kontrolle des Abkommens einfordern, denn Demokratie kann nicht in irgendwelche Ausschüsse ausgelagert werden. Eine Mitsprache bei der Besetzung der Schiedsgremien, eine Einbeziehung bei den Tätigkeiten der Ausschüsse und natürlich eine Mitbestimmung, wenn das Abkommen geändert wird.

Ich verlange von der Kommission heute: Verankern Sie genau diese Punkte in einem interinstitutionellen Abkommen und bitte knicken Sie nicht vor dem Rat ein, denn wer aktuell die demokratische Rolle des Europäischen Parlaments verhindern will, das sind die EU-Mitgliedstaaten.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (The Left). – Senhor Presidente, o Reino Unido saiu da União Europeia por decisão soberana do seu povo, que deve ser respeitada. Não se concretizaram, até agora, alguns dos cenários catastróficos, mil vezes decretados. Que benefícios ou que prejuízos trará esta saída, o tempo o dirá, o tempo e as políticas seguidas deste e do outro lado do Canal da Mancha.

Do que se trata agora é de decidir que relação futura a União Europeia deve ter com o Reino Unido. Demonstra-se, em qualquer caso, que uma saída da União Europeia não significa necessariamente nem a catástrofe nem o isolamento. É possível e é desejável estabelecer uma relação estreita de cooperação entre Estados, respeitadora dos direitos dos cidadãos, da soberania de cada Estado e vantajosa para todos os envolvidos.

Temos dúvidas de que este acordo configure uma relação deste tipo e também por isso sublinhamos que este acordo não deve fechar a porta a acordos bilaterais que, no reconhecimento de relações de maior proximidade entre o Reino Unido e outros Estados da União Europeia, se possam inserir neste espírito.

 
  
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  Frances Fitzgerald (PPE). – Mr President, I want to thank all my colleagues for their support to Ireland over the last number of very difficult years. I want to give a special thanks to Michel Barnier, and of course to Commissioner Šefčovič, who is putting so much time and energy into the current work in relation to this issue.

It is timely to remind ourselves of our former colleague John Hume, who passed away last year. He once said, ‘in the darkest days of our conflict, the EU was a powerful inspiration, giving us the confidence that one day a peaceful Ireland would become possible.’ That indeed proved to be the case. Let us not forget John Hume, let us not forget the bond that he helped to forge between Northern Ireland and the EU, and most importantly, let us never forget the peace that he craved.

Today is the right day to ratify the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. It’s a strong foundation stone and it gives certainty to everyone. It is time to move forward. But the work of Parliament does not end here. We cannot forget Northern Ireland, where tensions have reignited. This House and our EU institutions cannot accept a situation where a bomb can be placed under the car of a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer near where her three—year—old daughter sits. We should never underestimate the fragility of peace in Northern Ireland and the real people whose livelihoods – and lives, indeed – are at risk. Twenty years on from the Good Friday Agreement, many of the rights—based commitments still need to be implemented. We must ensure they are.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a solution to Brexit; it is not the problem. Through the Protocol, we can resolve the trade friction that has arisen. There is a responsibility on both sides, the EU and the UK, to be constructive and find solutions and, I would say, in a timely way. Colleagues, today as an MEP for Dublin and Ireland, I urge you to ratify this agreement in the interest of peace, in the interests of stability, in the interests of Ireland and the interests of Europe. With your help, the future can be bright for Northern Ireland.

 
  
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  Clara Aguilera (S&D). – Señor presidente, señor comisario, señora secretaria de Estado, quiero, en primer lugar, sumarme a la felicitación a todo el equipo negociador encabezado por Michel Barnier, porque creo que este Acuerdo va a preservar plenamente los intereses fundamentales de la Unión Europea y de sus Estados miembros, la integridad del mercado único y la autonomía normativa.

Creo que se ha hecho un gran trabajo, pero a pesar de esto, en el ámbito de la pesca, lamentablemente, parece que se van confirmando algunos de nuestros peores temores. Estamos a finales de abril y todavía no disponemos de un acuerdo sobre los TAC y las cuotas de este año, imprescindible para saber claramente qué corresponde a cada una de las partes. Espero y confío en que esta situación no se repita cada año.

La pesca ha sido uno de los asuntos más complicados en las negociaciones, porque no se atiende a razones lógicas, sino a un sentimiento irracional de posesión. A pesar de los múltiples problemas que ha tenido el Reino Unido para vender sus capturas a la Unión Europea, los tories británicos siguen diciendo que al menos los peces son más felices ahora.

En fin, tras la ratificación de este Acuerdo, que —estoy segura— se producirá, vendrá la parte más complicada del seguimiento. En materia de pesca, es esencial que se garantice que nunca se supere el umbral de reducción del 25 % y que se mantenga el acceso recíproco. Pedimos a la Comisión que esté atenta y que informe a este Parlamento. No solo nos preocupa la imposibilidad de adaptar los TAC y las cuotas, sino también que el Reino Unido quiera imponer medidas técnicas inaceptables y que haga interpretaciones ilegalmente restrictivas de las condiciones para la obtención de licencias de pesca. En definitiva, espero que este divorcio, triste y lamentable, del Brexit se convierta en una nueva etapa para el Reino Unido y la Unión Europea muy positiva.

 
  
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  Luis Garicano (Renew). – Mr President, I lived in the UK for a decade and my eldest son now lives there, and the difference between the freedoms that I enjoyed and the ones he will enjoy are stark. I enjoyed free movement. He can look forward to crossing borders, being in queues and paying for costly visas each time he travels. My generation enjoyed the Erasmus programme. His generation – and all other UK students – will not be allowed to travel around the continent and get to know other educational systems and other cultures. I enjoyed portable social security rights. He will not enjoy such rights. He, like another three million European citizens in the UK, has gone from being a citizen to an immigrant overnight, and the same is happening to 1.2 million UK diaspora Brits, who will be deprived of the right to citizenship and will have to endure nightmares of restricted working rights.

The UK Government wanted this and we accept it and we will vote for it, but it’s not a good deal, as no deal that curtails rights and limits the ability of people to move could be. I hope a new generation of British people will continue the struggle and, in due time, we will see the UK return to the European Union.

 
  
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  Ciarán Cuffe (Verts/ALE). – A Uachtaráin agus a Chathaoirligh, is é mian mó chroí go bhfillfidh an Bhreatain ar an Aontas Eorpach lá éigin sa todhchaí.

Creidim go bhfuil comhar trasteorann de dhíth orainn chun saincheisteanna móra ár dtréimhse a réiteach. Ó ghníomhú ar son na haeráide go COVID nó Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste; oibríonn an dlúthchomhar. Ní mór dúinn níos mó lámha agus droichead agus níos lú teorainneacha agus bratach.

Tá an Breatimeacht ag spreagadh teannais idir pobail i dTuaisceart Éireann. Chonaiceamar foréigean cheana féin ag tosú in aice leis na ballaí síochána. Anois feicimid níos mó brú chun vótaíocht teorann a reáchtáil. Go híorónta, leis an mBreatimeacht, tá Éire aontaithe níos gaire ná riamh.

As my colleague Clare Bailey in the Northern Ireland Assembly says, there was never going to be a good Brexit for Ireland, north or south. The re-emergence of borders was always going to be a threat to the very fragile peace. Boris Johnson has not been honest. Northern Ireland has a political process. It’s time all actors commit to the peace process and implement the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.

Tá an Breatimeacht ag spreagadh teannais idir pobail i dTuaisceart Éireann. Chonaiceamar foréigean cheana féin ag tosú in aice leis na ballaí síochána. Anois feicimid níos mó brú chun vótaíocht teorann a reáchtáil. Go híorónta, leis an mBreatimeacht, tá Éire aontaithe níos gaire ná riamh.

I want to see a united Ireland, one that is shared and peaceful, but to achieve this we must include all communities and traditions, nationalist and unionist, to prevent further violence.

 
  
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  Emmanuel Maurel (The Left). – Monsieur le Président, le choix souverain des Britanniques est clair et je pense qu’il faut respecter ce choix. Je ne crois pas d’ailleurs qu’il soit très opportun de le qualifier d’une erreur historique, comme nous le faisons dans la résolution, parce que l’histoire jugera. Elle est indifférente à nos protestations, elle est indifférente à nos prédictions.

En revanche, il nous revient maintenant et ici de respecter et de protéger les intérêts des Européens, et c’est là que j’ai une inquiétude, notamment pour les travailleurs. Boris Johnson annonce en effet qu’il veut créer une sorte de Singapour européen aux portes de l’Union, mettre en place des ports francs sans contrôle douanier et sans contrôle fiscal – et là, il faut défendre les travailleurs. Je ne fais pas confiance à la seule Commission pour défendre ces intérêts. Il faut que le Parlement européen soit associé; or il ne l’est pas. Il faut que les syndicats soient associés; ils ne le sont pas. Voilà mon inquiétude aujourd’hui. Il y a un vrai problème démocratique, et pour défendre les intérêts des travailleurs européens, nous devons être plus vigilants, plus déterminés. L’avenir nous dira si l’on arrive à les défendre correctement.

 
  
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  Antonio López-Istúriz White (PPE). – Señor presidente, me siento tremendamente orgulloso. Mañana, cuando vote este Tratado, aquí, en este Parlamento Europeo, me sentiré orgulloso, primero, del equipo negociador que lideró Michel Barnier, y de todos nosotros.

Hicimos frente al populismo más barato, rancio, de medios de comunicación, de líderes políticos en la bancada inglesa, que intentaron en todo momento provocar un cambio en nuestro ánimo. Nuestro ánimo se ha mantenido europeo, firme, transparente y responsable. Y yo creo que eso es lo que sí mañana vamos a tener que celebrar, sin olvidarnos de que quedan todavía muchos aspectos en esta negociación: ahí están nuestros amigos irlandeses. Todos unidos, como lo hemos estado estos tres años, estamos con ellos y queremos la mejor de las situaciones para Irlanda. A ver si los irresponsables políticos británicos, que siguen jugando con fuego con este tema, paran ya de una vez y siguen el modelo europeo de convivencia y solidaridad en el caso de Irlanda. También con nuestros amigos pescadores, no solo en España, sino en muchos países europeos.

Vamos a estar, desde este Parlamento, muy vigilantes de lo que suceda en los próximos meses con este Gobierno británico. No solamente el equipo negociador, no solo Michel Barnier, que ha reflejado el espíritu también de los democristianos fundadores de la Unión Europea, que mantuvieron siempre, y ese es el secreto de las futuras negociaciones con el Reino Unido, que debemos mantener una relación estupenda con el Reino Unido, por qué no, siempre y cuando ellos quieran.

Y hay mucha gente en el Reino Unido que así lo quiere, hay mucha gente viviendo en España, en Mallorca, por ejemplo ⸺la región que yo conozco bien⸺. Miles de ciudadanos británicos se han sentido abandonados. También tenemos que estar ahí por ellos. Por eso somos europeos y creo que eso es lo que vamos a tener que celebrar indudablemente mañana.

 
  
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  Agnes Jongerius (S&D). – Voorzitter, commissaris, mevrouw de minister, na de woelige overgangsperiode is het nu tijd om te focussen op de toekomst. En dan een toekomst waar het draait om mensen en hún realiteit, want de werkelijkheid is dat veel mensen aan beide kanten van de Noordzee getroffen zijn door de brexit. Deze mensen mogen we niet in de kou laten staan en met het akkoord dat er nu ligt – mede dankzij de sterke druk van het Europees Parlement – zijn sociale bescherming, goede werkomstandigheden, milieunormen en consumentenbescherming beter verankerd in onze relatie met het VK.

Toch moeten we ervoor waken dat de afspraken over het gelijke speelveld tussen de EU en het VK gewaarborgd blijven. Brexit mag niet leiden tot een deregulering op de Britse arbeidsmarkt. Nulurencontracten en onzekere contracten zijn altijd al de standaard geweest in het VK, maar oneerlijke concurrentie aan de andere kant van de Noordzee mogen wij niet accepteren. Ook de gemaakte afspraken rond Noord-Ierland dient het VK na te komen. Wij houden vast aan de verdeelsleutel van de zogenaamde BAR-gelden. Afspraak is afspraak.

Het begin van een nieuwe relatie met het VK is nu ingezet. Laat ons die relatie opbouwen op een toekomstgerichte en positieve manier, waarbij de samenwerking centraal staat, zodat ook volgende generaties de vruchten kunnen plukken van de goede betrekkingen tussen de EU en het VK, zodat bijvoorbeeld ook de kennisuitwisseling op het gebied van wetenschap en innovatie aanhoudt en zodat we strategische partners kunnen blijven op het gebied van veiligheid en buitenlands beleid. Wij zullen vóór stemmen en hopen op het beste.

 
  
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  Karin Karlsbro (Renew). – Herr talman! Det är lätt att vara Europavän, att försvara inte bara möjligheten, utan rätten att resa, jobba, handla, studera – ja, helt enkelt leva – var man vill inom den europeiska unionen.

Brexit är ett varnande exempel på hur det går när nationella politiker skyller sina egna tillkortakommanden på EU och en påminnelse om att Europasamarbetet och friheten måste försvaras. Det är först när man inte längre har alla friheter som man värderar dem fullt ut.

Det är bra att EU och Storbritannien nu har enats om ett långtgående handelsavtal som bäddar för fortsatt nära samarbete och handel. Men man kan inte både ha kakan och äta upp den. Jag vill påminna om att brexit innebär mer byråkrati, fler blanketter, mer krångel, ökade hinder och växande detaljstyrning, helt enkelt mer av allt sånt som vi liberaler vill få bort. Sånt som drabbar både individer och företag både inom Storbritannien och EU och inte minst Sverige, mitt eget land.

Vi har nu börjat vänja oss vid ett EU utan Storbritannien. Nu börjar ett nytt kapitel i vår gemensamma historia. Vi liberaler kommer att fortsätta att jobba för att människor och företag i och utanför Storbritannien inte ska drabbas av brexit, utan vara en självklar del i ett frihetligt Europa.

 
  
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  Caroline Roose (Verts/ALE). – Monsieur le Président, l’accord que nous nous apprêtons à voter est crucial pour de nombreux secteurs, mais l’est encore plus pour les pêcheurs. La signature de l’accord est loin d’avoir réglé tous les problèmes.

Alors que les accords devaient garantir un accès réciproque aux eaux territoriales britanniques et européennes, force est de constater que ce n’est pas le cas. Prenons l’exemple des Hauts-de-France: sur la centaine de navires qui auraient besoin d’une licence pour accéder aux eaux territoriales britanniques, seuls une vingtaine ont effectivement reçu cette licence. En ce qui concerne les quotas, aucun accord n’a été trouvé pour fixer le niveau des totaux de capture pour 2021, ce qui maintient les pêcheurs dans une situation de forte incertitude. Il faut rapidement parvenir à un accord sur les quotas définitifs. Ceux-ci doivent respecter l’accord de RMD inscrit dans l’accord et les règlements et recommandations scientifiques. Dans le cas contraire, ce sont les populations de poissons qui en feront les frais et, en bout de course, les pêcheurs.

J’espère que le vote de l’accord ce soir permettra de débloquer ces deux points. La réduction des possibilités de pêche de 25 % pour les Européens sera un coup dur pour les pêcheurs, mais je souhaite rappeler aux États membres qu’ils ont entre leurs mains l’article 17 de la politique commune de la pêche, qui leur permet de répartir ces possibilités de pêche selon des critères sociaux et environnementaux. Je les invite donc à préserver la petite pêche côtière, essentielle à la vie des territoires côtiers et qui met en place des techniques de pêche plus respectueuses de l’environnement.

Nous savions qu’un accord avec le Royaume-Uni serait moins avantageux que la situation pré-Brexit, mais l’absence d’accord serait encore pire. Ayons cela à l’esprit en votant ce soir.

 
  
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  Lukas Mandl (PPE). – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der Brexit ist eine Tragödie und gleichzeitig eine Altlast – so ehrlich müssen wir sein –, die wir von der Generation vor uns in der Politik übernommen haben. Die Gründe für den Brexit liegen nicht nur in London, sie liegen schon auch in Brüssel. Und jetzt ist es die Verantwortung unserer Generation, was zu machen? Für die kommenden Generationen ein gutes Miteinander mit dem Vereinigten Königreich, mit Großbritannien und Nordirland sicherzustellen.

Warum? Weil es uns als Europa auf diesem Planeten besser geht, wenn wir zusammenhalten, unabhängig davon, wer gerade die EU-Mitgliedstaaten bildet. Es ist die große Verantwortung, es zu schaffen, dass die Europäerinnen und Europäer in der Wirtschaft, aber auch in Sachen Sicherheit, auch in Sachen Freiheit – die Medienfreiheit steht so sehr im Vordergrund in diesen Zeiten, in denen sie von innen in der Europäischen Union, aber auch von außen so angegriffen wird; in all diesen Bereichen brauchen wir die Zusammenarbeit mit Großbritannien und Nordirland.

Über die Wirtschaft wurde viel geredet, und zwar mit Recht. Und da ist es auch naheliegend, dass noch mehr als wir die Insel brauchen, die Insel auch uns braucht. Aber in Sachen Sicherheit, in Sachen Militär, in Sachen Polizei, auch in Sachen Nachrichtendienste brauchen wir auf dem Kontinent auch ganz stark die Insel, braucht Europa den Zusammenhalt, unabhängig von der EU-Mitgliedschaft.

Das ist es, was jetzt nach jahrelangem Gezerre um den Austrittsvertrag gelingen muss: dass wir zu einem neuen Miteinander kommen, auch zu einer neuen Sprache, auch zu einem neuen Selbstverständnis davon, was zu Europa gehört – und das ist nicht nur Großbritannien und Nordirland, das sind auch andere Staaten, die zu Europa gehören, aber noch nicht EU-Mitgliedstaaten sind.

 
  
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  Johan Danielsson (S&D). – Herr talman! Storbritanniens utträde ur Europeiska unionen har skapat mycket osäkerhet de senaste åren, både för företag och för medborgare.

Därför är det bra att vi i dag har ett avtal på plats. Jag ser det här avtalet som en garant för att vi ska kunna fortsätta upprätthålla en nära relation och ett gott samarbete med Storbritannien.

Som ansvarig i transportutskottet är det oerhört viktigt för mig att vi har fått på plats ett avtal som garanterar fortsatt goda transportförbindelser mellan EU och Storbritannien, samtidigt som vi har lyckats få på plats regler som garanterar sund konkurrens för alla arbetstagare som arbetar i transportsektorn runt om i Europa.

Vi ska inte konkurrera med låga löner och usla arbetsvillkor inom EU och det ska inte heller våra samarbetspartner göra.

Det enskilt mest positiva under den här åtta år långa tragedin som brexit har varit är vår förmåga inom EU att hålla ihop. När vi nu ska implementera och genomföra avtalet så är det lika viktigt att vi fortsätter att hålla ihop. Det finns ju all anledning att känna oro inför sättet på vilket Boris Johnson och den brittiska regeringen verkar förhålla sig till internationell rätt och ingångna avtal.

Det är viktigt att vi undviker en situation där Storbritannien långsamt, bit för bit, lyckas förändra avtalet för att varje enskild fråga är så liten att vi inte väljer att ta just den striden. Vi måste komma ihåg att det är droppen som urholkar stenen. Jag vill särskilt poängtera vikten av att de fackliga organisationerna involveras i övervakningen och genomförandet av avtalet.

Europaparlamentet är i sin resolution tydligt med att de fackliga organisationerna ska kunna lämna in klagomål på genomförandet och att kommissionen då ska tvingas vidta åtgärder. Det här kommer att vara mycket viktigt för genomförandet av avtalet och för att garantera goda arbetsvillkor på båda sidor om kanalen.

 
  
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  Billy Kelleher (Renew). – Mr President, while I like nothing about Brexit, I hope that this Parliament will ratify the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the European Union, and I hope that it eventually brings about a new relationship between the European Union and the UK. We can’t have continual political discourse that undermines the concept of what an agreement is. I do hope that we dial down the political rhetoric around the Northern Ireland Protocol and that we dial down the political rhetoric in general, particularly coming from the UK Government around the fallout from Brexit and the negotiations that are finally being concluded here today if we ratify this Agreement.

The UK Government has to accept responsibility for what it signed as well. We now have to ensure that we put mechanisms in place between the European Union and the UK at technical level so we don’t always have to have inflamed political debates to address some of the outstanding issues that are causing difficulties, namely the Northern Ireland Protocol and the technical aspects around that. So I would urge caution, reduce the rhetoric and more effort at a technical level to address the outstanding issues. I commend this particular Withdrawal Agreement to the House.

 
  
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  Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, Robert Alan Arthur said intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee for a peaceful, just and sustainable world. This intercultural dialogue is the essence of our European Union. However, this intercultural dialogue, at least with the UK, is endangered and has been endangered more than it must.

The UK leaves the Erasmus+, a programme that not just brings European students together, but ensures youth empowerment and education in every single Member State. The UK doesn’t have to leave Erasmus, other non-EU countries are also part of it. But it does so because Johnson wants to cut the intercultural dialogue of the next generation. One that, by the way, mostly voted to remain.

The UK also leaves Creative Europe, a programme for cultural cooperation. It doesn’t have to leave cultural Europe because other non-EU countries are also part of it, but the UK does so because Mr Johnson wants to cut the intercultural dialogue. But Johnson’s Brexit deal doesn’t just hurt those who voted to remain but also the leavers. The ESF and the cohesion funds are missing and the people in remote and de-industrialised regions are hurt by it. Fishing doesn’t work as intended and the scientific exchanges are endangered as well. Brexit only has losers and that’s a shame, but we have to do the best we can with it for the future.

 
  
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  Jörgen Warborn (PPE). – Herr talman! I dag har vi kommit till slutet på en resa som jag hade hoppats att vi aldrig hade behövt göra. Men brexit är ett faktum och våra brittiska vänner har lämnat oss. Vi behöver nu fortsätta att ge allt för att vi ska få en så nära relation som möjligt, för våra företags och medborgares skull.

Samarbetsavtalet mellan EU och Storbritannien är inte perfekt, men det är så bra som det går att få just nu. Britterna har uttryckt att de vill skapa ett Singapore vid Themsen, alltså att de ska förändra sitt regelverk för att på så sätt dra till sig investeringar och talanger och öka sin konkurrenskraft. Vi i vår tur har lagt ner mycket tid, kraft och energi på att säkerställa att britterna inte ska kunna avvika från det europeiska regelverket och på så sätt kunna konkurrera ut våra företag.

Jag är inte helt säker på att det är rätt väg att gå, för den globala konkurrensen kommer inte bara från Storbritannien. Vi måste snarare säkerställa att vi har ett regelverk och ett företagsklimat som skapar tillväxt i hela Europa. Vi behöver se efter varför vi tappar i tillväxt i förhållande till andra stora ekonomier.

Därför är det glädjande att kommissionär Šefčovič som ansvarig kommissionär i dag presenterar kommissionens initiativ om bättre lagstiftning. Jag hoppas att det ska vara ett steg på vägen för bättre konkurrenskraft, fler jobb, ökad tillväxt och mer välstånd för européer.

Mot bakgrund av allt detta skulle jag vilja veta hur kommissionen planerar att skapa bästa möjliga förutsättningar för europeiska företag, som nu kämpar med nya hinder i handeln med Storbritannien, men också hur man kommer att fortsätta att jobba med till exempel tjänstehandel och, inte minst, hur företagsklimatet i hela Europa ska förbättras generellt sett.

Avslutningsvis, ett stort tack till Michel Barnier för hans fina insats.

 
  
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  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D). – Señor presidente, gracias al comisario Šefčovič, que representa a la Comisión; gracias, también, a la secretaria de Estado, Ana Paula Zacarias.

La verdad es que, en cierto modo, con la votación de hoy se concluyen de alguna manera los cinco años de trabajos en torno a la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea. No voy a repetir lo que han dicho los demás diputados sobre lo que eso supone, pero sí que es verdad que, paradójicamente, ha supuesto un impulso a la cohesión entre ciudadanos, instituciones y Estados miembros en torno al proyecto común y al relanzamiento que empezaremos el 9 de mayo con la Conferencia sobre el Futuro de Europa.

En cuanto a los resultados del Brexit —los resultados que podemos observar en estos pocos meses—, pues son realmente negativos, en particular para el Reino Unido. Algunos datos me parecen relevantes: la caída del 50-40 % de las exportaciones del Reino Unido a la Unión Europea —parece una cifra realmente de tebeo—; la inactividad de los puertos, por ejemplo, en Gales; la salida de entidades financieras de la City de Londres. Bien, es así como se ha querido. Tal vez algún día decidan volver nuestros amigos británicos. Así lo espero, pero tendrá que ser con una amplia mayoría social y sin excepciones: sin cheques y sin excepciones a la unión monetaria.

De lo que se ha dicho hoy, me preocupa la cuestión de la gobernanza del Acuerdo y la participación del Parlamento Europeo en la gobernanza. Nosotros hemos reclamado un memorando con la Comisión o un acuerdo interinstitucional. Tenemos la declaración de hoy, que agradecemos, y también la presidenta ha hablado de un acto legislativo limitado a alguna de las dimensiones de la gobernanza. Necesitaríamos —si puede, comisario— que nos lo aclare, pero tiene que quedar claro que el Parlamento tiene que poder participar en asuntos clave como la posible suspensión o modificación del Acuerdo, no solo estar informado, como ha dicho la presidenta.

 
  
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  Samira Rafaela (Renew). – Mr President, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement gives citizens and businesses some much-needed clarity and a way forward. However, we must remain cautious for possible frictions and disputes in the implementation of the Agreement. We already see difficulties arising for exporting businesses, for example relating to the rules of origin provisions, and the EU and the United Kingdom must remain engaged in constructive dialogue to avoid a situation in which instead of cooperation, dispute settlement becomes the norm.

As we see frictions arising over the last few months our collective conclusion must be that the process needs our fullest attention. Effective implementation from both parties, as well as proper democratic monitoring, is crucial. In that regard the European and United Kingdom Parliaments must have a role through a dedicated partnership assembly in the implementation and oversight of the Agreement.

 
  
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  Benoît Biteau (Verts/ALE). – Monsieur le Président, un mécanisme de sortie de l’Union européenne ne peut conduire à un bon accord. Je salue toutefois le travail remarquable de Michel Barnier. Mais puisque nous sommes dans cet exercice imposé, je souhaite attirer notre attention sur la clause de non-régression.

Cette clause de l’accord est plutôt bonne et je crains que nous ne devions la mobiliser et faire preuve de détermination sur le sujet central des OGM. L’annonce par le gouvernement britannique d’une volonté de déréguler les OGM sans les soumettre à aucun accord, sans contrôle des risques, sans étiquetage, faisant fi d’une réglementation européenne qui protège les consommateurs et l’environnement, doit nous alerter.

Cette hypothèse de dérégulation par le Royaume-Uni contredit donc entièrement la réglementation communautaire à ce sujet comme la position des citoyens britanniques sur cette perspective, et donc l’Union européenne doit se tenir prête à agir pour prolonger la protection de notre continent contre ces menaces.

 
  
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  Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou (PPE). – Mr President, I would first like to thank all the EPP colleagues, the secretariat, and especially our INTA rapporteur, Mr Christophe Hansen, for their diligent work on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). We have a deal which is not ideal. However, it’s better than a no-deal situation in which we would have been led to a cliff edge. The TCA will enable the European Union and the United Kingdom to continue to work together.

The ratification of the TCA safeguards European interests for three reasons. Firstly, it increases the legal security for European citizens and businesses that are directly affected by Brexit. Secondly, it provides a level playing field for our businesses across the Channel, and thirdly, it expands our enforcement toolbox to ensure the full implementation of both the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocol. The Northern Ireland Protocol is a cornerstone of the Withdrawal Agreement and it is instrumental in preserving peace in Northern Ireland. We must safeguard this.

Judging from the negotiations leading up to the TCA, our relationship with the United Kingdom is likely to remain conflictual. The United Kingdom may have left the European Union; however, it remains an important partner, a trusted ally and a democratic friend. So despite the difficulties, the tensions of the blame game, acting responsibly requires that we must not let our differences take get the best of us. This would only fortify geopolitical rivals, systemic and otherwise, who would simply love to play us against one another.

 
  
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  Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D). – Mr President, by voting for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, we can finally put Brexit to rest and start a new phase in EU—UK relations. This Agreement, together with the Withdrawal Agreement, will help us structure our cooperation going forward, and I hope it will be a close partnership. The EU and UK need each other and we have a lot to gain from cooperation in multiple fields, including fighting climate change and pursuing value—based foreign policy.

The Agreement will also help us to deal with mutual grievances. We will need to continue to defend the integrity of the internal market and the customs union, and the UK will need to accept what it has signed up to, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, to save peace in the region. If we must, we can trigger the TCA arbitration procedure and, where relevant, the rebalancing mechanism that allows either side to impose remedial measures. But I strongly hope our relations will not be defended by grievances.

Instead, we should strengthen political dialogue with the UK to avoid the build-up of grievances and strengthen our mutual political will to act together in Europe and on the world stage. As the European Parliament, we should seek a close working relationship with the UK Houses of Parliament to complement the executive level Partnership Council. Implementing Brexit is sad but building a new partnership is full of opportunities.

 
  
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  Barry Andrews (Renew). – Mr President, just 5% of people polled in Northern Ireland last month trust the British Government to safeguard their interests in the discussions around the Protocol. No event in the history of Northern Ireland has united the people of Northern Ireland more completely than the incompetence of this British Government and now four former Secretaries of State have written to Boris Johnson tacitly accusing him of dishonesty and neglect in his Northern Ireland policy.

By contrast, John Hume, former MEP, attempted to internationalise the Northern Ireland situation and especially emphasising the role of the EU, and this is more true now than ever, because the EU stands as co—guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland is in our single market and will be impacted by the laws that we make in this Parliament. So I’m delighted that the resolution makes specific reference to enhance dialogue between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament, between Belfast and Brussels, because it is only through structured and continuous dialogue that we will make sure the Northern Ireland voice is heard in this Chamber and the Northern Ireland Protocol serves all communities in Northern Ireland.

 
  
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  Rasmus Andresen (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, today, we are starting a new chapter in our relations with the UK. European programmes are the best way to build a continuously strong relationship. We welcome the continued UK participation in the research programme Horizon and in the Copernicus programme.

But Brexit is a particularly harsh blow to the younger generation. The younger generation voted overwhelmingly to remain. They want to build a common European future. It’s a crying shame to exclude British students from the Erasmus programme. Prime Minister Johnson, you lied to the younger generation by saying that Erasmus wasn’t under threat. You took away important experiences from them and to all young Brits and especially our Welsh and Scottish friends, we will not let you down. As soon as majorities change we are ready to welcome you back.

 
  
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  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). – Señor presidente, afortunadamente, tenemos un Acuerdo que aprobar con el Reino Unido, un Acuerdo de Comercio y Cooperación. De no ser así, las consecuencias del Brexit habrían sido mucho peores, dados los estrechísimos vínculos económicos y comerciales existentes entre los Estados miembros de la Unión y ese país. Todos habríamos salido muy perjudicados y nuestras economías, afectadas ya por la COVID-19, habrían sufrido todavía más. El Acuerdo evita las peores secuelas de una decisión equivocada.

Lamento, ciertamente, que el Acuerdo no contemple un capítulo específico en materia de política exterior y de defensa. No comprendo por qué Londres no ha querido disponer de unos mecanismos institucionales para facilitar la consulta y la coordinación en materia internacional, dados nuestros intereses y valores tan cercanos. En un mundo multipolar, con la emergencia de grandes actores extraeuropeos, la coordinación con nosotros sería muy útil también para el Reino Unido.

Finalmente, quiero una vez más referirme a la pesca, un sector fundamental, que, como todos sabemos, ha constituido uno de los puntos más difíciles de las negociaciones. Lamento mucho el recorte del 25 % de las capturas europeas en aguas del Reino Unido, pero ahora lo importante es asegurar que por fin el acuerdo funcione adecuadamente en materia de pesca y superar las dificultades actuales en fijación de TAC y cuotas. Los mecanismos institucionales deben también ponerse en marcha sin más demoras, en particular el Comité Especializado en Pesca.

Además, espero que, cuando acabe el llamado período de ajuste de cinco años, el sector pesquero tenga ante sí un horizonte de estabilidad y certidumbre, manteniendo la cooperación y el beneficio mutuo, sin ulteriores recortes. Si este no fuera el caso, la pesca sería un importante motivo de discordia que afectaría al resto del Acuerdo. En primer lugar, al comercio. Que nadie se llame a engaño: la pesca no debe ser moneda de cambio en nuestras relaciones con el Reino Unido.

Y termino diciendo que este Parlamento estará muy vigilante sobre el futuro Acuerdo con el Reino Unido respecto de la colonia de Gibraltar.

 
  
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  Alex Agius Saliba (S&D). – Sur President, il-ftehim tan-negozju u kooperazzjoni mar-Renju Unit huwa riżultat ta’ negozjati intensivi li issa ilhom għaddejjin is-snin. Huwa ċar li l-ftehim ta’ kummerċ ħieles mhux ser ikun qatt ugwali għal sħubija sħiħa u ma jista’ jwassal qatt għall-istess arranġamenti ekonomiċi ugwali għas-Suq Intern Ewropew. Madankollu r-Renju Unit għażel li jtemm ir-relazzjoni tiegħu mal-Unjoni Ewropea u jżomm relazzjoni aktar imbiegħda. Hu għalhekk, li issa rridu naraw kif dawn ir-regoli ser jaħdmu fil-prattika bl-inqas problemi, bl-inqas ostakoli possibbli.

Żgur però li ser nesperjenzaw diffikultajiet li ser isiru dejjem aktar evidenti matul ix-xhur u s-snin li ġejjin. Hu għalhekk, li l-Unjoni Ewropea trid taġixxi b’mod deċiżiv u spedit, sabiex tassigura ruħha li l-Istati Membri, il-ħaddiema, il-konsumaturi tagħna, iċ-ċittadini, l-ambjent, l-industriji ma jiġux impattati b’mod negattiv. U f’każ li jimmaterjalizzaw irwieħhom dawn id-diffikultajiet, il-Kummissjoni għandha tirreaġixxi b’mod immedjat sabiex tirrimedja dawn is-sitwazzjonijiet.

U għaldaqstant nixtieq nistaqsi lill-Kummissjoni; kif qed taħseb li ser tindirizza il-kontinwità fil-provvista u l-iskarsezza tal-mediċini f’dawk l-Istati Membri partikolari, bħall-Istat Membru tiegħi Malta, li ġew affettwati minn Brexit. X’azzjonijiet immedjati u x’soluzzjonijiet fit-tul ser jiġu implimentati sabiex insolvu dawn il-problemi li qed joħolqu sfidi mhux biss għall-effettività tas-sistemi tas-saħħa tal-Istati Membri tagħna, iżda problemi kbar fl-immedjat hekk kif bħalissa ninsabu f’nofs pandemija.

 
  
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  Morten Løkkegaard (Renew). – Hr. Formand! Det bedste man kan sige om den her aftale, det er, at den bliver til. Ellers ser vi nu dagligt, uge for uge, måned for måned, konsekvenserne af brexit: kaos ved grænsen, lastbiler, der må vente i dagevis, vognmænd, der fortæller, at de kører tomme tilbage i tusindvis, fordi varer ellers ville rådne op. Mange har opgivet at køre til UK af samme grund. Skaldyrene rådner i havnene i Skotland. Hardcore brexitfiskere klager deres nød og skælder ud på den britiske regering for at have løjet for dem. Overalt er virksomhederne i kaos, der er bureaukrati, ekstra udgifter, tab i millionklassen. Og så er der jo Nordirland, hvor situationen forværres fra dag til dag, efterhånden som konsekvenserne går op for parterne. Det er desværre igen igen historien om en alt for forventelig tragedie. Jeg vil igen appellere til de kræfter i den britiske regering, der stadig måtte være modtagelige for fornuft: Få nu leveret på den aftale, I selv har accepteret! Også selv om vi alle – også I, erkender jeg – må sige, at det, vi siger ja til, er så meget ringere end det, vi kom fra.

 
  
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  Željana Zovko (PPE). – Mr President, with just a few days before the end of a provisional application we stand for a milestone decision. The adoption of the unprecedented trade agreement between the EU and the UK will mark the end of the Brexit negotiations and provide legal certainty. I warmly thank our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team for their hard work during the endless rounds of negotiations, and I thank our European Parliament’s UK coordination group, headed by AFET Chair, David McAllister, in assuring a continued representation of our interests. It is paramount that also after the adoption of the agreement, this close engagement of the European Parliament remains.

We insist on a key role in monitoring and scrutinising the proper implementation of the agreement. Parliament should be involved when important decisions concerning Union actions under the agreement are made. Unfortunately, the agreement is not exhaustive; it lacks content on foreign policy and security cooperation.

As a former student in London, I deeply regret the decision of the UK to leave the Erasmus+ programme. I call on the UK to reconsider its position and rejoin the programme in the future.

Finally, I left London in the year that the Good Friday Agreement entered into force. Personally I know how peace and stability can be fragile if international agreements are not respected. We, in the European Parliament, will be vigilant.

 
  
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  Tanja Fajon (S&D). – Gospod predsednik, brexit je realnost. Žal mi je, da je Združeno kraljestvo zapustilo Evropsko unijo.

Junija bo pet let od usodnega referenduma. Zgodovinska napaka, a odločitev Britancev spoštujemo. Izhod je bil vse prej kot gladek. Michel Barnier je opravil izjemno delo, a v vmesnem času smo bili na žalost priča tudi številnim pretresom, ki pa so tudi močno omajali medsebojno zaupanje.

Takšna je tudi odločitev, da London za državljane petih držav članic zahteva dražji delovni vizum kot za ostalih 22, med njimi tudi za Slovenijo. To je diskriminatorno. To je ukrep, ki ne prispeva k dobrim medsebojnim odnosom in ga močno obsojam.

Pozivam, da London odločitev spremeni, podporo pa pričakujem tako od Komisije kot od ostalih držav. Kolege poslance zato pozivam, da podprete dopolnilo številka 21 k resoluciji.

Zadnjih pet let so zaznamovala naporna pogajanja, med nami so nastale številne trgovinske ovire. Zaradi zahtev Londona ne bo ključnih izmenjav podatkov organa pregona v okviru Europola, zapustilo je Združeno kraljestvo Erasmus+ in tako naprej.

Na Severnem Irskem smo zaradi brexita priča nasilju, Škotska napoveduje nov referendum.

Pozivam premierja Johnsona: ne spodbujajte konfliktov, Britancem pa sporočam: ste del Evrope, zaupanje moramo obnoviti. Vsaka ločitev je boleča, ampak niste sami.

 
  
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  Michal Šimečka (Renew). – Mr President, I think everybody wants the EU-UK trade to flourish despite all the red tape and bureaucracy created by hard Brexit, but there’s one thing which is more important than trade, and that is of course peace and stability on the island of Ireland.

During the Brexit negotiations the EU has repeatedly placed emphasis on the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement, and to the credit of Michel Barnier and EU negotiators, the Protocol in Ireland and Northern Ireland has actually achieved the crucial goal of avoiding a hard border on the island. But today we’re in a situation where the UK Government refuses to implement the Protocol despite voluntarily signing up to it a year ago. And now the EU is right to demand that, for once, the Brexiteers actually honour what they have promised, and if they don’t then Boris Johnson and their company should be ready to face the consequences of violating international law.

 
  
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  Massimiliano Salini (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, grazie Commissario, la Brexit è una partita che ha stravolto il dibattito di questi anni. Lo ha stravolto perché non eravamo pronti. Nulla di simile era mai accaduto e quindi ci siamo trovati sprovvisti di strumenti non solo tecnici per affrontarla correttamente, ma anche di cultura politica.

E perché questo? Perché l'origine di questa sfida è un'origine scorretta: è la cattiva interpretazione di quelle che possono essere le relazioni, appunto, tra un paese che rivendica legittimamente le proprie prerogative e la propria autonomia, ma al contempo che non percepisce, a mio modo di vedere, quanto dentro l'unità con la comunità dei popoli europei potesse meglio essere rappresentata questa peculiarità.

Il dibattito ha visto alternarsi le figure più strane, la figura del politico che approfitta dell'esasperazione del particolare. È la figura più deprimente che si è vista in questo dibattito. Fortunatamente abbiamo un accordo. Fortunatamente abbiamo un accordo che rispetta la storia delle relazioni tra l'Unione europea e la Gran Bretagna. Fortunatamente non abbiamo una rottura violenta di ciò che non è mai stato disunito.

Peccato che in questo accordo, come qualche collega ha detto prima di me, non trovi ospitalità uno dei punti centrali che ha storicamente rappresentato la relazione positiva tra Unione europea e Gran Bretagna, cioè quella politica estera, quella politica di difesa, quella capacità di tutelare la culla della cultura occidentale, che ha fatto grande non solo l'Europa ma il mondo e che attraverso la difesa e l'Europa intesa come unità di politica e geopolitica avremmo potuto mettere dentro un accordo che, fortunatamente c'è, che difenderemo e che rende ragione della fatica che facciamo dentro questo luogo per rappresentare tutti i cittadini europei.

 
  
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  Katarina Barley (S&D). – Mr President, I still remember very well 30 January of last year, the day when we said farewell to our British colleagues in this House. Many tears were shed that day and many tears have followed elsewhere – the tears of British citizens who had to leave their homes in Spain, young people who couldn’t live their dream of studying abroad, and the many at the Northern Irish—Irish border who see violence again in their region.

It is the citizens on both sides of the Channel that we should give our special attention to, as we are the people’s House. Many lives are affected by Brexit on both sides of the Channel, especially the many EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. We owe it to the people – to the UK citizens and to the EU citizens – to do everything to fulfil the promise upon which the European Union once was founded: peace and trustful cooperation. We need to act in good faith, we need to work together on the world stage, and we need to always bear in mind that, while in some fields the UK and the European Union have now become competitors, in the overwhelming majority of arenas, we are still allies. So I say it with a German and a British heart: let’s get it on.

 
  
 

(Die Aussprache wird unterbrochen)

 
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