The European Parliament’s foreign affairs and international trade committees approved the Brexit trade agreement on Thursday. With 108 votes in favor, four abstentions, and one vote against, the treaty was adopted by a large majority. Now the European Parliament has yet to approve.
But it has not yet been decided when it will be voted on in a plenary session. Parliament first demands that the British make clear that they are in compliance with previous agreements in the Treaty of Withdrawal regarding controls on goods shipped from British territory to Northern Ireland.
This is necessary because British Northern Ireland continued to belong to the European internal market after Brexit. The British government recently announced that it will delay the planned checks for a period of six months until 1 October. The European Union has initiated legal proceedings in this regard. On Thursday evening, European Union Commissioner Marus Civkovic and Britain’s Brexit CEO David Frost will meet in Brussels to find a solution.
The United Kingdom did leave the European Union on January 31, 2020, but there was a transition period until the end of 2020. The form of reciprocal trade after the end of the year was laid down in an agreement concluded on Christmas Eve 2020.
The United Kingdom gave its final approval almost immediately, but Brussels wanted to study the treaty thoroughly first, and thus only reached tentative approval, to avoid a trade agreement at all after the end of the year.
So now there are “yes” from two important parliamentary committees. The European Parliament itself has yet to give its final approval. According to the agreements concluded with the British, this still needs to be done this month. The temporary trade agreement expires on April 30th.
If the treaty is not fully approved by the full parliament before then, and the transition period is not extended, the trade treaty will expire and the scenario of no deal with taxes and reciprocal quotas remains threatened.