Luxembourgian MEP Christophe Hansen, who sits on the European Parliament’s international trade committee, has warned Michel Barnier that senior MEPs are ready to block a Brexit trade deal if it’s not “sufficiently balanced.”
Speaking as Brexit negotiations continue, Hansen said: “If there is a deal, I believe it will be sufficiently balanced that the European Parliament can give its consent. Otherwise, there will be no deal.”
Hansen’s fellow MEP and chair of the international trade committee Bernd Lange echoed the concerns. He warned that a deal needs to be urgently presented to member states – or risk making the scrutiny and ratification process “a farce,” due to the limited time left before the Brexit transition period expires on December 31.
It is already 5 past 12.We need a text. Otherwise ratification+democratic scrutiny by #EP will be a farce. The gambling of @BorisJohnson has brought us where we are now. We won’t pay the price for that! #Brexit#EU#UKhttps://t.co/yq6caEgzaW
The remarks suggest concern among MEPs over the possibility that Barnier will make too many concessions in order to reach a deal with the UK, rather than allowing challenging trade restrictions to be imposed on both sides.
Negotiators for both the EU and UK are already under growing pressure to overcome the remaining barriers in the ongoing trade talks with sufficient time left for the European Parliament and all 27 member states to review and approve any agreement before the December 31 deadline.
Michel Barnier has been holding intense online negotiations with the UK’s lead negotiator Lord David Frost, as both sides have been temporarily unable to meet face-to-face due to coronavirus concerns.
In a bid to get a deal over the line, British media has reported Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen are set to speak directly this week to address the current blockages.
The biggest stalemate remains over the issue of fisheries, with Hansen calling for there to be compromises in order to secure a mutually agreeable deal, while Downing Street has refused to budge on the prospect of allowing EU vessels continued access to its waters.
The European Parliament has set a new deadline of next Tuesday to allow a new relationship to be formally agreed by December 28, three days before the UK would crash out of the Single Market and Customs Union.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!