The European Parliament approved the trade agreement with the United Kingdom. With this, the European Union puts an end to Britain’s exit from the European Union, nearly five years after the Britons announced their departure.
“This is the final step in a long journey that will bring stability to our new relationship with the European Union as a vital trading partner and a close and equal ally,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after the vote was announced. “Now is the time to look to the future.”
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement was approved by 660 votes to 5, with 32 abstentions.
The deal has already been ratified by the British Parliament and entered conditional enforcement on January 1, pending approval by the European Parliament. that voted on the issue on Tuesday. The results were announced today.
Britain’s exit from the European Union means turmoil
Now that the treaty has been ratified by the European Union, it will officially enter into force. Most MEPs lament the UK’s eventual exit from the European Union. “Brexit will cause disruption and inconvenience to citizens and businesses,” said Parliament Speaker David Sassoli.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel reacted positively to the agreement. According to von der Leyen, the so-called TCA (Trade and Cooperation Agreement) represents “strong and close cooperation with the United Kingdom”. “Lord implementation is essential,” she said.
“Despite the great sadness that has still come this far, we must now look forward,” says Tigs Ryton, a spokesperson for the State Department at the PvdA. According to PvdA leader Agnes Jongerius, the future relationship “requires continued commitment and dedication from all of us”.
Bas Eckhout (GroenLinks) points out that Britons must comply with fair competition rules on labor rights and environmental standards. “The EU can take unilateral action if the UK weakens these standards.”
“I hope that in the future we will also be able to consider cooperation in policy areas on which we have not yet reached agreements, such as the student exchange program or foreign policy,” says Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD).
A member for over 50 years
The United Kingdom has been part of the European Union since 1973. In 2016, the British voted to leave the European Union in a referendum. After difficult negotiations on the terms of separation, stipulated in the Withdrawal Agreement of October 2019, Brussels and London concluded a Trade and Cooperation Agreement on December 24, 2020. This prevented the “no-deal scenario” in time. On January 1, Britain’s exit from the European Union becomes final.
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