AFCO to sign-off UK Withdrawal Agreement

The committee will vote on Thursday, paving the way for a final vote in plenary next week.
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By Martin Banks

22 Jan 2020


Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee will vote this Thursday to “sign off” the Withdrawal Agreement which paves the way for the UK to quit the EU on 31 January.

The vote still depends on whether the UK itself this week grants its consent to the Brexit deal.

If, as expected, the deal passes the two legislative hurdles this week, a final parliamentary vote will take place in the mini plenary in Brussels on 29 January.


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Speaking at a briefing in parliament on Monday, a spokesman for the institution said MEPs “will not vote unless and until the UK ratification process is completed. This is due for 22 January. We should know by then if the UK ratification is done.”

Future trade and economic relations with the UK after Brexit were discussed in the committee on international trade (INTA) on Tuesday.

Luxembourg MEP Christophe Hansen, EPP group spokesperson and Brexit rapporteur in the committee, said it is in the interest of “both sides” to have close trade ties.

He said, "However, being outside the EU cannot entail the same advantages as being inside the Union. Even if Boris Johnson's timetable for a trade agreement between the EU and UK is extremely ambitious, our duty will be to properly protect European interests.”

“That is why the European Parliament intends to follow the negotiations very closely, to ensure appropriate democratic scrutiny of any future deal," the MEP stated.

"It is time to move forward to the next stage of negotiations, and while we are sad to see the UK leave the EU, it is now important to concentrate on fostering a positive, constructive future relationship" Danuta Hübner (PL, EPP), member of Parliament’s Brexit steering group

Polish deputy Danuta Hübner, a senior representative in the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, said the EPP “regrets” that the UK is leaving the EU but welcomes the fact that the constitutional affairs committee is likely to support the agreement.

This paves the way for the conclusion of what has been a “lengthy process,” she said, adding, "It is time to move forward to the next stage of negotiations, and while we are sad to see the UK leave the EU, it is now important to concentrate on fostering a positive, constructive future relationship.”

A parliament source told The Parliament Magazine on Monday about the arrangements being planned in Brussels to mark the UK’s much-lauded exit.

The source said, “The debate and vote on consent will be on the afternoon of 29 January in plenary. This will be the high moment in parliament next week. No press event is planned, but parliament’s President David Sassoli will have a short departing ceremony for the UK MEPs where group leaders will also be invited in the margins of the plenary.”

“There is nothing to celebrate but it is an important moment to mark. It will be marked with dignity with an allocution by the president in the chamber after the vote.”

Some political groups, including the Greens, and MEPs have organised their own private events to mark Brexit.

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