European parliament backs outline Brexit deal

Michel Barnier on 18 October 2017. [Commission]

The European Parliament urged EU leaders on Wednesday (13 December) to allow the next phase of EU negotiations to start, backing a motion that recognised the talks had made sufficient progress as a well a line criticising Britain’s Brexit negotiator David Davis.

Earlier on Wednesday, the EU’s chief negotiator told lawmakers that Britain could not renege on commitments made to ensure Brexit talks with the European Union move on to discussions on the future relationship between the two.

European Union leaders are almost certain to judge on Friday that “sufficient progress” has been made on the rights of citizens, the Brexit divorce bill and the Irish border to allow negotiations to move to the next phase. The EU executive recommended last week that the leaders approve trade talks.

The European Parliament will have to approve any Brexit deal, although its motion on Wednesday was not binding.

The agreement, presented in a joint report last Friday, was in the view of some in Brussels, undermined by Brexit minister David Davis’s comment that it was more “a statement of intent” than a legally binding. Davis has subsequently said he wants the accord swiftly translated into a legal text.

Brexit breakthrough as Commission says 'sufficient progress' made

Theresa May rushed to Brussels in the early hours of Friday morning (8 December), after the European Commission said all-night divorce talks had made “sufficient progress” to move on to the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

“We will not accept any going back on this joint report. This progress has been agreed and will be rapidly translated into a withdrawal accord that is legally binding in all three areas and on some others that remain to be negotiated,” EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU lawmakers.

Barnier said a lot more further steps were required to secure an orderly withdrawal.

“We are not at the end of the road, neither regarding citizens’ rights nor for the other subjects of the orderly withdrawal. We remain vigilant,” he said.

Barnier said the next phase of talks would focus on a “short and defined” transition period and initial discussions on a future relationship, which he stressed would not erode the EU single market and its four freedoms, including free movement of people.

Study: UK economy likely to suffer post-Brexit

The UK economy is likely to suffer for a decade after leaving the EU under the most probable post-Brexit trade scenarios, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation, made available to EURACTIV.com before publication.

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