European Parliament approves EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The European Parliament has voted with a large majority in favor of granting its consent to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement setting the rules of the future EU-UK relationship. The agreement, for which negotiators had agreed on December 24, 2020, has been provisionally applied since January 1, 2021. It was to lapse on April 30, 2021.

The consent decision was adopted by 660 votes for, five against and 32 abstentions, while the accompanying resolution, setting out Parliament’s evaluation of and expectations from the deal, passed by 578 votes, with 51 against and 68 abstentions. The vote took place on Tuesday, with results announced the next day.

With the Parliament giving its consent, the agreement will enter into force permanently once the European Council has concluded it by April 30.

“The zero quotas and zero tariffs trade agreement between the EU and the UK are viewed positively by members of European Parliament (MEPs), and guarantees on fair competition rules could serve as a model for future trade agreements, MEPs add. Parliament agrees with provisions on, among others, fisheries, consumers, air traffic and energy.

“However, MEPs regret that the UK did not want the agreement to extend to foreign, security and development policies and did not want to participate in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme,” the European Parliament said in a statement.

“The EU and the UK have created the basis for a relationship among equals. Most importantly, today is a beginning, not the end. We agreed in many important areas, such as securing mutual market access and building a good relationship on trade. Much work remains on foreign policy and educational exchange programmes. For citizens’ interests to be represented, Parliament must be closely involved. Only a partnership in which both sides stick to their commitments has a future,” said Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT), rapporteur for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament.

“Ratification of the agreement is not a vote of blind confidence in the UK Government’s intention to implement our agreements in good faith. Rather, it is an EU insurance policy against further unilateral deviations from what was jointly agreed. Parliament will remain vigilant. Let’s now convene the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly to continue building bridges across the Channel,” said Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU), rapporteur for the Committee on International Trade, European Parliament.


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