While the UK government is deciding not to extend the transition period, S&D MEPs remain disappointed with the lack of progress in negotiations due to the UK’s lack of political engagement in key areas like safeguards on fair competition, the level playing field and existing standards.
As MEPs today debate their recommendation on the future partnership, the S&D Group wants to see more progress towards a comprehensive agreement and citizens’ rights in the UK and the EU secured, alongside other key commitments yet to be fully respected in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in October 2019.
The S&D Group is supporting the recommendations on the ongoing negotiations for a new partnership between the EU and the United Kingdom when they are voted on Thursday.
Kati Piri, S&D vice-president on foreign affairs and co-rapporteur on the future EU/UK partnership, said:
“Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that there was no reason an agreement on a deal could not be found in July. But beyond the commendable use of idioms, he failed to answer the "How" question. The UK government has so far been disengaged in key areas in four successive rounds of negotiations so it is not easy to share the same levels of optimism.
“This week, the European Parliament has acknowledged that the UK does not intend to extend the transition period, but for the EU this door has always been and remains open. For the UK government to refuse to engage properly on key issues for the EU like the level playing field and at the same time deciding not to extend the transition period is neither a constructive approach to negotiations nor conducive to securing a final agreement.
“If the UK government wants to see momentum towards an agreement it has to deliver on its promises of a comprehensive agreement and fair competition with robust social, environmental and labour protections in which the Court of Justice of the EU is the sole interpreter of EU law. Such a partnership, I reiterate, would be to the benefit of both EU and UK citizens, especially in the current context.”
Paolo de Castro, S&D trade committee member and shadow rapporteur on the future EU/UK partnership, said:
“With the clock running down and the UK government deciding not to extend the transition period, the risk of no-deal is increasingly real. When combined with the economic and social damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a no-deal between the EU and the UK will have highly damaging consequences and the UK will bear the brunt of the pain. We are doing everything in our possibilities to avoid this cliff-edge scenario.
“Both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration agreed by Boris Johnson just 8 months ago are there to give security to citizens, stability to producers and direction to negotiators on both sides of the Channel. We will not accept any backtracking on these commitments.
“There are obvious time pressures in the negotiations, and this week the European Parliament has made it clear that this is a result of the UK’s choices. But the EU position is clear and we are united in standing our ground to deliver what’s already been agreed.”