The plenary session of the European Parliament formally adopted the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which lays the foundations for the new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom after its withdrawal from the Community Club, a regime that has been in provisional application since January that it has approved the MP needed for its final ratification.
“Despite the UK’s decision to leave our Union, we continue to share deep and lasting bonds, values, history and geographic proximity. It is in our common interest that this new relationship work,” said European Parliament President David Sassoli. after the vote, held at the last minute on Tuesday, but the result of which has not yet been announced.
The plenary session finally gave its approval with a large majority of 660 votes in favor, five against and 32 abstentions, as Sassoli himself announced at the beginning of the parliamentary session on Wednesday.
The foreign and international trade commissions had already approved the agreement because they see it as the best option to avoid post-breakup chaos and because they believe that it offers sufficient legal instruments to ensure a fair and equitable relationship, for example to ensure the same conditions of competition.
However, MPs resisted until the last moment to schedule the vote within the required deadline – provisional application of the agreement expires this week – as the UK government showed distrust of the provisions of the Withdrawal Treaty.
Boris Johnson’s British executive decided unilaterally to postpone customs controls, which will apply as early as this April on goods traveling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, to October in accordance with the agreement between London and Brussels in the divorce agreement.
For this reason, the political groups in the European Parliament have approved the pact, but indicated that the institution will monitor that there are no more violations or that the European Union is acting appropriately in this case.
“Ratification is important because it gives us the tools to ensure that it is fulfilled by both parties. Also because it offers pragmatic solutions when we need them,” stressed the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, during a debate with MPs on Tuesday, hours before the vote and four years after London officially informed the EU of its decision to leave the club.
The European Union sees the UK’s violation of international law in the postponement of the application of the Irish Protocol annexed to the exit agreement, which is why Brussels has launched infringement proceedings that London could end before the EU Court of Justice if the parties fail to resolve the dispute.
“We will closely monitor the implementation of this new treaty and the withdrawal agreement. We will not accept any setback from the UK government in terms of the commitments made,” warned Sassoli after the vote.