LONDON — The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to back a number of red lines regarding Brexit talks with Britain.
MEPs in Strasbourg, France voted by 516 to 133 to back the resolution on Wednesday morning, meaning that the EU’s only directly-elected body has now established its official negotiating strategy ahead of Brexit talks with getting underway.
The Parliament backed a plan that calls for a phased negotiation and for Britain to honour its obligations as an EU member state until it drops out of the 28-nation bloc in March 2019.
The resolution also reinforced redlines that the EU Commission published last week, including the Union’s refusal to discuss a future trade agreement (FTA) with Britain until issues regarding the initial divorce are settled.
Speaking before the vote, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier described Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce and trade talks to be held in parallel as a “very risky” strategy.
“Theresa May’s letter seeks a rapid agreement but, honourable members, the devil is quite clearly going to be in the detail and the six months of work done so far points to that,” Barnier said.
“A single financial settlement, as a result of UK commitments to the EU, and the EU commitments to the UK, there your resolution is very clear. We do not seek to punish the UK but simply ask the UK to deliver on its commitments and undertakings as a member of the EU.”
These are the key red lines in the resolution:
- Any transitional deal must not last longer than three years.
- Any transitional deal will be enforced and overseen by the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ).
- UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in Britain should be guaranteed reciprocal treatment.
- No final deal can include a trade-off between trade and security cooperation.
- The UK must adhere to EU environment and anti-tax evasion rules in order to achieve close trade ties after Brexit.
- The UK should pay to the EU costs that “arise directly from its withdrawal.”
- The European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency should be relocated away from London.
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer urged Prime Minister Theresa May to “reflect” on the guidelines ahead of talks getting underway later this month.
“These will be the most complex and important negotiations for decades and it is vital that the Prime Minister reflects on these guidelines and sets about building alliances and good faith with our EU partners,” he said.
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