MEPs claim they will vote against any free-trade agreement that doesn’t feature “robust” protections on workers’ rights, environmental and competition standards. In a draft resolution, the euro politicians reinforce the bloc’s demand for a regulatory level-playing field between the UK and EU. It is a “necessary condition for the European Parliament to give its consent to a trade agreement with the UK”, the document reads. MEPs will eventually have to vote to ratify the trade deal, with the ballot expected to take place in October.
MEPs will also call for Boris Johnson’s trade talks team to “revise its negotiating position”.
They will vote on the plan to keep Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, locked to the bloc’s rigid opening position on Friday.
The resolution says the eurocrat must guard against a “race to the bottom” on EU standards.
It also doubles down the on EU’s bid to make Britain apply the bloc’s state aid rules in UK law as the price for a deal.
David Frost, the UK’s chief trade negotiator with the EU, branded the demand “egregious” in a recent letter to Mr Barnier.
The Brussels bureaucrat has previously suggested he is ready to compromise on the bloc’s demands.
Yesterday he called on British negotiators to budge in the hope of breaking the current impasse.
“I’m ready to compromise,” Mr Barnier told a European trade union leaders conference in Brussels.
In a move that could unlock the trade talks, he dropped a demand for Britain to directly apply EU competition law, which would mean handing vast powers to Brussels and the European Court of Justice over business and industrial subsidises.
Referring to the Political Declaration, Mr Barnier added: “All we’re asking for is what we have agreed upon, politically, to be translated into law.”
The 27-page wish list agreed last autumn, says the “future relationship must ensure open and fair competition, encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level-playing field”.
Offering a fresh assessment of the fourth round of talks between the two sides, Mr Barnier said: “During the past negotiation round the UK must have taken note of the EU’s willingness to search for compromises.
He said: “I hope high-level discussions with Prime Minister Johnson, that will take place this month, will provide a new political impetus to our toolbox.
“With determination on both sides, I am convinced we can overcome the difficulties.”
European ambassadors agreed to back the bid to reinvigorate the trade talks.
After a meeting with Mr Barnier and senior EU diplomats, a source said: The meeting has shown the continued strong support for Michel Barnier among EU member states.
“The EU will continue to approach negotiations constructively and united.”
Published at Thu, 11 Jun 2020 11:55:00 +0000