Boris Johnson told to ‘stop playing political games’ with millions of citizens

The message, from Parliament’s EPP Group, comes after the fourth round of Brexit talks ended in deadlock on Friday.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

By Martin Banks

09 Jun 2020

Belgian MEP Kris Peeters, the EPP Group’s representative in Parliament's negotiating team for the new EU-UK agreement, said that after “four long rounds” of Brexit talks, there were “still too many files to be addressed.”

“At the forthcoming high-level conference we expect Boris Johnson to finally move forward. He must stop playing political games with the situation of millions of citizens on both sides of the Channel.”

“Let me be clear: the EPP will not give the green light to an agreement if the UK - in return for market access - does not accept EU market rules. This means the same standards on workers’ rights, the environment or state aid.”


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“We also need a stable framework for fisheries, clear provisions on the role of the European Court of Justice and on the respect of fundamental rights,” Peeters added.

“Even if Boris Johnson's timetable for the agreement is extremely ambitious, our duty is and will remain to properly protect European interests. The UK chose to be a third country. As a consequence, it will not have the same rights and benefits as a member state of the EU.”

“Let me be clear: the EPP will not give the green light to an agreement if the UK - in return for market access - does not accept EU market rules. This means the same standards on workers’ rights, the environment or state aid” Kris Peeters MEP

“But this was not our choice at all. UK negotiators should now take a more result-oriented approach. If not for the Europeans, they should do it for their citizens, because a no-deal scenario will lead to huge UK job losses of more than half a million,” he said.

“A divorce is already a disappointment. But let's at least try to have an amicable divorce and not leave behind a broken home.”

Peeters praised EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for a “tremendous job in trying to reach an agreement” but warned the UK that “if it wants access to the EU market, it must respect EU market rules.”

David McAllister, a German MEP who heads Parliament’s UK Coordination Group, said, “There has been no significant progress made this week on EU-UK negotiations. Both sides have jointly agreed on the Political Declaration on future relations so the UK should urgently clarify whether they stand by the commitments made in the PA.”

“There are less than five months remaining to negotiate but Parliament will not consent to an agreement that does not include provisions on level playing field, fundamental rights, robust governance and a stable framework for fisheries” David McAllister MEP

“There are less than five months remaining to negotiate but Parliament will not consent to an agreement that does not include provisions on level playing field, fundamental rights, robust governance and a stable framework for fisheries.”

On June 12, Parliament’s draft recommendations on the ongoing EU-UK negotiations are set to be approved by the Foreign Affairs and International Trade committees, which will also include input from 17 other committees, each in its own remit.

Further reaction to the continued failure to broker a deal came from Polish EPP member Danuta Hübner, who told this website, “One more weekly video conference behind us. This time, one day shorter maybe because there was not much sense in spending one more day on time consuming presentation of well-known positions instead of moving toward finding solutions where there is disagreement.”

“I hope these negotiations made it clear to the UK that the EU is very serious about fisheries and level playing field measures. A change of heart on these issues is impossible on the EU side. It is equally impossible to accept ‘a la carte’ access to the single market” Danuta Hübner MEP

Hübner, a member of the former Brexit Steering Group in Parliament, said, “What matters for the EU is to look for solutions and not wait for the negotiations to collapse. This week’s round has been about differences and how to move forward. We did not expect anything final from this fourth round, but we have proof that negotiations go on. It is also good news at a time when the sky is falling in on our heads.”

“I hope these negotiations made it clear to the UK that the EU is very serious about fisheries and level playing field measures. A change of heart on these issues is impossible on the EU side. It is equally impossible to accept ‘a la carte’ access to the single market.”

The former European commissioner added, “It is also good that the EU is looking anew at preparedness activities [for a possible No Deal].”

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