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European Parliament agrees motion on Brexit negotiations

Andrew Sheftel
April 05, 2017

Posted in UK and EU legal framework

The European Parliament has agreed a motion setting out its position in relation to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

The motion essentially reflects the EU Council’s draft negotiating guidelines, discussed in our previous blog post, although arguably takes a firmer stance.

For example, the motion:

  • stresses that any final deal should not involve a trade-off between the future economic relationship and security co-operation;
  • states that it would be contrary to EU law for the UK to begin negotiations on possible trade agreements with third countries in advance of its withdrawal;
  • expressly warns Member States that any bilateral agreement with the UK in areas of EU competence relating to issues included in the scope of the withdrawal agreement and/or impinging on the future relationship of the EU with the UK, would also be in contravention of the Treaties. The particular example is given of any bilateral agreement and/or regulatory or supervisory practice that would relate to privileged access to the internal market for UK-based financial institutions at the expense of the EU’s regulatory framework; and
  • opposes any future agreement between the EU and the UK “that would contain piecemeal or sectorial provisions, including with respect to financial services”.

More generally, it endorses the proposal for a phased approach to negotiations, accepting the premise that “should substantial progress be made towards a withdrawal agreement then talks could start on possible transitional arrangements on the basis of the intended framework for the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union”.

The motion repeats the previous suggestion that any transitional arrangements should be limited to three years and, crucially, that during any transitional period, disputes should be resolved by the CJEU. This arguably goes beyond what was proposed by the Council which suggested only that in any transitional arrangement, the CJEU must have jurisdiction over the EU acquis (i.e. the body of EU law). According to the Council’s Guidelines, any “transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should a time-limited prolongation of [EU] acquis be considered, this would require existing [EU] regulatory, budgetary, supervisory and enforcement instruments and structures to apply”.

It is worth noting that the European Parliament will not be party to the negotiations – which will be conducted by the Council – although the European Parliament would nevertheless need to approve the final exit deal.  Accordingly, EU negotiators will at least need to have regard to the European Parliament’s views in the forthcoming negotiations.

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