S&Ds lead support for EU-UK Agreement in committee but seek assurances ahead of final vote

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Today in a joint vote by the foreign affairs and the international trade committees, the S&D Group is leading support for the consent vote on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

However, MEPs want further assurances that all aspects of the Brexit deal are implemented in full, including the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol, ahead of the final plenary vote.

The Socialists and Democrats have played a leading and constructive role throughout the scrutiny and consent procedure, in particular as co-rapporteur on the foreign affairs committee.   

Andreas Schieder, co-rapporteur on the EU-UK Agreement (foreign affairs), said:

“Even if Brexit is a historic mistake, the Agreement is a good one. After time for scrutiny, we are satisfied that it includes strong level playing field provisions and limits the negative consequences of Brexit by protecting workers, consumers, the environment and businesses. Nonetheless, we need to stay extremely vigilant to ensure the agreement is fully respected, particularly given recent unilateral breaches of the Withdrawal Agreement by the UK Government.

“Before scheduling the plenary vote, we look forward to receiving assurances of good faith on the proper implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and specifically on the Northern Ireland Protocol. We are hopeful the meeting today between vice-president Šefčovič and David Frost will signal a move towards finding workable solutions that result in the UK Government implementing the Northern Ireland protocol in full.”

Paolo de Castro, S&D negotiator on the international trade committee, said:

“We can fully support this Agreement because it limits the hardship that businesses and citizens will face with Brexit, in particular when it comes to trade, and because it ensures a relationship based on fair trade and high standards, avoiding social, environmental and regulatory dumping.

“Of course, we hope this Agreement is just the building blocks of an even stronger future partnership with the UK, but this depends on the UK Government fully implementing all aspects of the Agreement and fully respecting it going forward.”