Brexit may 'ignite true reform' in the EU says MEP
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The European Parliament spent last night debating and voting on the Brexit deal struck by the UK and EU on Christmas Eve. The temporary confirmation in place – The Trade and Co-Operation Agreement – spans a period from the New Year to May. This means a permanent, formal agreement must be officially established.
Results from the MEP vote on the Brexit deal are expected to be announced at 9am on Thursday.
Politicians are not expected to oppose the agreement, but it requires approval by Brussels before it can be ratified.
Before MEPs voted on the deal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told them the deal has “real teeth”.
But she also told the body the EU would not hesitate to take action against the UK if it breached the agreement.
David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, issued a statement which indicated the assembly did back the Brexit deal, despite the official result awaiting release.
He said: “Today the European Parliament voted on the most far-reaching agreement the EU has ever reached with a third country.
“This can form the foundation on which we build a new forward-looking EU-UK relationship.
“Despite the UK’s decision to leave our Union, we still share deep and longstanding ties, values, history and geographical proximity.”
Some MEPs remain critical of Boris Johnson’s use of Northern Ireland Protocol.
Manfred Weber, German leader of the centre-right EPP Group, said on Tuesday: “Today, when we see the Northern Ireland Protocol implementation and how Johnson behaves, the message is ‘I don’t care, I don’t care even about my signature’.
“That’s the new Great Britain we have as a partner on our side.”
The protocol has strained relations between the UK and EU, after Britain unilaterally extended grace periods for deliveries to Northern Ireland being exempt from checks and customs.
The EU launched a legal dispute over the move.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, also urged both the bloc and the UK to “shoulder their responsibilities” of Northern Ireland.
Addressing the parliament ahead of the vote, he told MEPs: “For Ireland, peace is very important. Everybody has to shoulder their responsibilities… and respect what they have signed up to.
“This is something that affects peace and lasting trust between the EU, the UK, Ireland, all of us.
“Ireland, we don’t look at it just in terms of goods, services and trade. Instead, men and women who need peace, which is very fragile.”
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