The Conference of Presidents of Parliament’s political groups issued the following statement after meeting EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday.
The Conference of Presidents
1. Takes note that negotiations are ongoing with the UK on the future relationship and welcomes efforts being made to avoid a no deal scenario, and the huge negative impact it would have on citizens and businesses; Highlights its wish to avoid the disruptive impacts of a possible no-deal outcome and notes in this context the UK Government’s refusal to even consider extending the transition period; Welcomes the four targeted and time-limited contingency measures to be voted tomorrow in plenary;
2. In this respect, stands ready to organise an extraordinary plenary session towards the end of December, in case an agreement is reached by midnight on Sunday 20th December, for the European Parliament to debate the outcome of negotiations and consider granting its consent;
3. Insists that this is contingent on having access to the text of any agreement in advance of the formal referral being made, and in this respect urge the Commission to provide the Parliament with a provisional text as soon as possible; Recalls that ratification of any agreement is dependent on the full implementation by the UK government of all provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland; Therefore invites the Commission to provide Parliament with a full report on the implementation of the Protocol, in order to allow it to assess whether or not this condition has been met;
4. Recalls the Political Guidelines for the Next European Commission 2019/2024 which state that “my Commission will always propose that provisional application of trade agreements take place only once the European Parliament has given its consent”;
5. Highlights the exceptional nature of these negotiations and stresses that in no way can this be seen to constitute a precedent for future trade agreements, where the usual format of cooperation and access to information must be fully guaranteed, in line with Article 218 (10) TFEU, including far-reaching sharing of all negotiating texts, regular dialogue, and sufficient time for formal EP scrutiny and debate of agreements;
6. Is grateful for the dedicated and professional work of the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the UK Taskforce, who are working tirelessly for a positive outcome and welcomes their extremely close and regular cooperation with the European Parliament, in particular the UK Coordination Group, which has been fully informed and consulted at every step of the negotiations.