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EU Parliament priorities for Brexit

The EU Parliament have today released a document containing the motion “Motion for a resolution to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship” which outlines priorities in the negotiations, from the EU Parliament’s point of view, for the UK’s exit from the EU.

It will be debated next Tuesday (13 March 2018) for a vote in Parliament next Wednesday (14 March 2018)

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION – to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship (PDF)

The document has been prepared by the Brext Steering Group of the EU Parliament, led by Guy Verhofstadt – EU Parliament coordinator for Brexit.

It consists of 65 paragraphs, covering numerous topics, and mentions the possibility of creating an Association Agreement with the UK.

An EU Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Association_Agreement

5. Reiterates that an association agreement negotiated and agreed between the EU and United Kingdom post-UK withdrawal pursuant to Article 8 TEU and Article 217 TFEU could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship, and secure a consistent governance framework, which should include a robust dispute resolution mechanism, avoiding the inflation of bilateral agreements and the shortcomings which
characterise our relationship with Switzerland;

6. Proposes that this future relationship be based on the following four pillars:

– trade and economic relations
– foreign policy, security cooperation and development cooperation;
– internal security
– thematic cooperation

The EU Parliament does not have a formal role in the Brexit negotiations but it will have a binding vote on the eventual deal.

In a press release,

Press Release – Brexit: Parliament to set out its vision for future EU-UK relations

EU Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani said:

As far as the European Parliament is concerned, the principles governing our future relations are clear: single market integrity must be preserved, a third country cannot be treated more favourably than an EU member state and a level playing field is essential. Working from these guidelines, we want to achieve the closest possible relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom. Brexit will not solve shared issues such as terrorism and security, for instance, so close cooperation in many areas will continue to be of mutual interest.

Brexit negotiations have reached a critical stage, yet essential issues over citizens’ rights remain unresolved and solutions maintaining an invisible border on the island of Ireland are not forthcoming. Any type of border would jeopardise the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and I insist that this must absolutely be avoided.

With regards to the transition period, the European Parliament is also clear that we will not approve an agreement that discriminates against European citizens who arrive in the UK during the latter. The acquis communautaire must apply fully, including on citizens’ rights.

EP coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt added:

In order to break the deadlock we now face, I believe it is important that the UK Government now seriously considers engaging with the European Parliament’s proposal for an association agreement, as catered for by Article 217 of the EU Treaty. I am convinced this will allow both the EU and the UK to unlock a lasting deep and special partnership for the future.

We look forward to receiving some further clarifications from the British Government regarding citizen’s rights, as a number of outstanding issues remain unresolved. We do not accept the United Kingdom’s negotiating position that maintains discriminations between EU citizens arriving before and after the start of the transition period. We hope the British Home Office can come to Brussels to present their proposal for a registration system for EU citizens in the UK, in the search for a solution.

Documents related to Brexit from the EU Parliament

I came across a number of interesting documents related to Brexit that have been produced following various Events, Workshops and Committee meetings held by the European Parliament. They provide interesting reading and background to positions held by the EU regarding the Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

Workshops are organised by the policy departments and enable members to put questions to and exchange views with experts on subjects associated with parliamentary business or subjects of current interest. They are not necessarily held in public but may be held during a committee meeting.

Hearings
A committee is permitted to organise a hearing with experts, where this is considered essential to its work on a particular subject. Hearings can also be held jointly by two or more committees. Most committees organise regular hearings, as they allow them to hear from experts and hold discussions on the key issues.

Implications of ‘Brexit’ for the EU agri-food sector and the CAP

This workshop was held on 9 November 2017 and discussed the issue of the impact of Brexit on the EU’s agri-food sector and on the CAP.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-workshops.html?id=20171114WKS01121

It looked at 3 specific aspects of Brexit:

  1. Impact on the CAP budget
  2. Impact on EU-UK agricultural trade flows and
  3. Possible transitional arrangements in agriculture in light of the future EU-UK relationship.

A number of documents were produced:

Possible impact of Brexit on the EU budget and, in particular, CAP funding – Jacques Delors Institute

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132065/PPT_CAP_Financing_EN.pdf (pdf)

EU – UK agricultural trade: State of play and possible impacts of Brexit – CIREM-CEPII

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132066/PPT_EU-UK%20Trade_EN.pdf (pdf)

Possible transitional arrangements related to agriculture in the light of the future EU – UK relationship: institutional issues – Trinity College Dublin

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132067/PPT%20Template%20-%20A%20MATTHEWSrev.pdf (pdf)

The implications of Brexit on the Irish border

During the 28 November meeting of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, a workshop was held on ‘The implications of Brexit on the Irish border’. This workshop was organised by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-workshops.html?id=20171123WKS01141

Brexit and Ireland – Legal, Political and Economic Considerations (pdf)

Smart Border 2.0 – Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland for Customs control and the free movement of persons (pdf)

PowerPoint Presentation on Smart Border 2.0 (ppt)

UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement (pdf)

PowerPoint Presentation on ‘UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement’ (ppt)

Hearing on the Impact of Brexit on Aviation – 11 July 2017

High level representatives in the field of aviation were invited to speak in the next TRAN Committee meeting on the topic of Brexit. Stakeholders discussed ways in which the UK’s departure from the EU is likely to impact the aviation industry from the perspective of the airports, the airlines and the tourism industry as a whole. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session with Members

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-hearings.html?id=20170705CHE02242

Hearing on the impact of Brexit on aviation (docx)

Kevin Toland, Dublin Airport (pdf)

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair (pptx)

Ralf Pastleitner, TUI Group (pdf)

Exchange of Views with Associations of Citizens on Brexit

held on 21 Nov 2017

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-other.html?id=20171123EOT01882

Statement from British in Europe (pdf)

Statement from the 3 million (pdf)

Brexit and the issue of the jurisdiction

During the AFCO meeting of 21 November, the Committee heard from two experts during the workshop ‘Brexit and the issue of the jurisdiction over the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship agreement between the EU and the UK’ organised by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-other.html?id=20171123EOT01881

The Settlement of Disputes arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (pdf)

Professor Steve Peers presented a briefing on “Jurisdiction upon and after the UK’s withdrawal: the perspective from the UK constitutional order” (I couldn’t find a copy of this – politicker)

EU Parliament – Brexit, No Progress

by Politicker 0 Comments

I found it interesting to note that the EU Parliament had already prepared a Draft Motion for a Resolution, to wind up the debate on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom, even before the 4th round of negotiations had actually finished and mentioned in a press release dated 28-09-2017 12:12

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20170927IPR84822/brexit-lack-of-sufficient-progress-on-divorce-terms

The draft resolution claims that: Progresss on EU priorities in the first four rounds of talks with the UK has not been sufficient.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/resources/library/media/20170928RES84907/20170928RES84907.pdf (pdf)

The motion is due to be debated on Tuesday 3 October, with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chief Negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier. The resolution as voted will set out Parliament’s input to the 20 October European Council summit in Brussels, when government leaders will assess progress in the Brexit negotiations.

Although any withdrawal agreement will need to win the approval of the European Parliament this motion could be stated as only an “opinion” by the Parliament as, of course, the UK is negotiating with Michel Barnier, not the EU Parliament.

Update 03 October 2017:

As might have been expected, the resolution was passed by 557 votes to 92 (and 29 abstentions) following a debate on Tuesday 3 October and MEPs recommended that

The government leaders of the EU 27 member states should postpone their assessment of Brexit on 20 October as “sufficient progress” has not been made on three key aims unless the fifth round of talks on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU delivers a major breakthrough.

EU Parliament Brexit Negotiation Guidelines

The EU Parliament has agreed their own set of guidelines regarding how negoitiations with the UK should be conducted. (The withdrawal negotiations can only be concluded with the consent of the European Parliament)

The Joint Motion for a Resolution is titled :

The European Parliament resolution on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union

and was prepared by Guy Verhofstadt and others.

The vote was 516 – 133 (with 50 abstentions) in favour of the motion on 5 April 2017.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=P8-RC-2017-0237&language=EN

Overall, in many respects, the guidelines are similar to those proposed in the guidelines for negotiation produced by Donald Tusk.

One interesting entry (item 27) states:

27. Takes note that many citizens of the United Kingdom have expressed strong opposition to losing the rights they currently enjoy pursuant to Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; proposes that the EU-27 examine how to mitigate this within the limits of Union primary law whilst fully respecting the principles of reciprocity, equity, symmetry and non-discrimination;

There has been mention in the past of the creation of some form of European Citizen membership where individual UK citizens could pay for a type of associate membership which would retain some of the benefits currently enjoyed as EU Citizens. Whether this would ever be implemented, or in fact even discussed as part of the Brexit negotiations, remains to be seen, but it is interesting to note that it has been included in these guidelines.

Full details of the debate on this resolution can be found on the European Parliament website at

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fTEXT%2bCRE%2b20170405%2bTOC%2bDOC%2bXML%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN

Verhofstadt tweeted his speech at

https://twitter.com/GuyVerhofstadt/status/849531889446789120

and this is a transcript:

Guy Verhofstadt, on behalf of the ALDE Group. –

Mr President, I have the feeling that it was a very sad moment on Wednesday of last week when the British ambassador gave his letter to President Tusk. That was my feeling anyway: a very sad moment.

It is true, naturally, that the relationship between Britain and Europe was never an easy relationship, let us recognise that. It was never a love affair and certainly not a question of wild passion. I think it was a little bit like a marriage of convenience, if I can use that term.

It was already clear, dear colleagues, from the beginning. In the 1950s Britain decided against membership of the European Coal and Steel Community. Attlee and Labour did not want it, and it was Churchill and the Tories who were in favour, it is good to recall this.

And in 1955 at the start of the Common Market, Britain walked away from the negotiating table.

In the early years of the Union it was the British Prime Minister Macmillan who looked at the continent with nothing less than suspicion. What were they cooking up there in Brussels, were they really discussing coal and steel and customs union, or were they also talking politics in Brussels, plotting on foreign policy? Oh, God forbid, defence matters even!

So British Prime Minister Macmillan wrote to his foreign minister, and, I quote, I have the quote here: For the first time since Napoleon the major continental powers are united in a positive economic grouping, but considerable political aspects, and to his own surprise, Macmillan had to admit this new experiment, and I quote further, was not directed against Britain.

So when Britain finally joined the European Union in 1973 after, as we all know, several blockades by General de Gaulle, the headlines were festive. You have to read all the British press in 1973, it was a great day for Britain to join the European Union. Let us be honest about this, it was only a short honeymoon, as we know, because Margaret Thatcher asked for her money back and her successor John Major called the euro, and I quote again, ‘a currency as strange as a rain dance, with the same impotence’. Well, I have to tell you that the pound slipping against the euro, as we see today was not exactly what Major expected at that moment.

But all the rest, let us be honest with each other, is history.

Perhaps let us recognise that it was maybe impossible to unite Great Britain with the Continent, and naive maybe to reconcile the legal system of Napoleon with the common law of the British Empire, and perhaps it was never meant to be.

(Applause)

But, and this is important – and I hope you are applauding this also – our predecessors should never be blamed for having tried, because it is important in politics, as it is in life, to try new partnerships, new horizons, to reach out to the other, to the other side of the channel. I am also convinced and 100% sure about one thing: that one day or another, dear colleagues, there will be a young man or a young woman who will try again, who will lead Britain into the European family once again.

(Applause)

And a young generation that will see Brexit for what it really is: a catfight in the Conservative party that got out of hand. A loss of time, a waste of energy, and I think, a stupidity. Although I continue to think that Brexit is a sad and regrettable event, I also believe it is important to remember something. Remember what Britain and Europe in these more than 40 years have achieved together. It is true, we may not have had the most passionate relationship, but it was not a failure either, not for Europe, and certainly not for Britain and the British.

Let us not forget, Britain entered the Union as the sick man of Europe, and thanks to the single market, came out the other side. Europe also made Britain punch above its weight in terms of geopolitics, as in the heyday of the British Empire. And we, from all sides, must pay tribute to Britain, to Britain’s immense contributions as a staunch and unmatched defender of free markets and civil liberties. And thank you for that because as a Liberal, I will miss that in the future.

Colleagues, within a few weeks we will start the process of separation. And I think, Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier, the goal must be to have a new and stable relationship and a deep and comprehensive partnership and association between the UK and the EU that certainly will be very different, as we all know, from membership. In this new venture let us always remember one thing. Our common bonds, our common culture, our common and shared values, our joint heritage, our history. And let us never forget that together we in fact belong to the same great European civilisation, from the Atlantic port of Bristol, I go as far as to the banks of the mighty river Volga; but maybe that is a little too far for the moment.

But let us be honest, and this will be my final point. Brexit is not only about Brexit. Brexit has to be also about our capacity for a rebirth of our European project, because let us recognise that Brexit did not happen by accident. Even though since Brexit I see what I call a change for the good in the mood of the public, let us not fool ourselves: Europe is not yet rescued and Europe has not yet recovered from the crisis.

Europe is still in need of change, I think in need of radical change: change towards a real Union, an effective Union based on values and based on the real interests of our citizens. And a Union also – and I want to conclude with this – that stands up against autocrats. Autocrats will close down their universities, to give one example.

(Applause)

Autocrats will throw journalists into jail, as is happening today. Autocrats will make corruption their trademark. And yesterday, as we all have seen, beyond any humanity, autocrats again bombed innocent women and children with chemical weapons in Syria, to give the nastiest example.

So in these negotiations which will have to start in the coming weeks, let us never forget why our founding fathers – British and other Europeans alike – launched this European project. There are three words: freedom, justice and peace – these are three great things that are worth fighting for.

Other Links

Red lines on Brexit negotiations

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170329IPR69054/red-lines-on-brexit-negotiations

The European Parliament

The European Parliament

The European Parliament is a forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level.

plenary_session

The Parliament is made up of 751 Members elected in the 28 Member States. It is directly elected by EU voters every 5 years and uses the proportional representation voting mechanism. The number of seats are determined by the population of each member state. The last elections were held in May 2014.

The parliament consists of 751 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament).

The current allocation of seats is as follows:

Germany 96
France 74
Italy 73
United Kingdom 73
Spain 54
Poland 51
Romania 32
Netherlands 26
Belgium 21
Czech Republic 21
Greece 21
Hungary 21
Portugal 21
Sweden 20
Austria 18
Bulgaria 17
Denmark 13
Finland 13
Slovakia 13
Croatia 11
Ireland 11
Lithuania 11
Latvia 8
Slovenia 8
Cyprus 6
Estonia 6
Luxembourg 6
Malta 6

The Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups – they are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation. There are currently 8 political groups in the European Parliament.

25 Members are needed to form a political group, and at least one-quarter of the Member States must be represented within the group.

Members may not belong to more than one political group.

Some Members do not belong to any political group and are known as non-attached Members.

EUParliamentGroups

EUParliamentStatesGroups

Further details about MEPs including salaries pensions etc. can be found at:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/about-meps.html

Over the years and with subsequent changes in European treaties, the Parliament has acquired substantial legislative and budgetary powers that allow it to set, together with the representatives of the governments of the Member States in the Council, the direction in which the European project is heading.

source: European Parliament (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/portal/en)

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