EU infighting: Parliament erupts as MEPs barred from making Brexit deal changes
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Some of the European Parliament’s most influential politicians are angry they have little legislative power to influence potential alternations to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. A new Partnership Council will oversee the implementation of the trade and security deal. It will be made up of high-ranking representatives from both the UK and the EU and will be the first port of call for any disputes.
A British minister and European commissioner are expected to chair the body, with no formal role for the European Parliament.
French MEP Nathalie Loiseau, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, said: “There is a very insufficient place left in all of this for our Parliament.
“We cannot accept that this agreement can be amended without Parliament’s approval… It can also be suspended without our agreement.
“If we see a part of this agreement is not upheld then we need to be able to make note of this amendment.
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“We need to ensure that no changes can be made to this agreement and no suspensions of the same can be carried out without previously requesting the consent of Parliament.”
EU Parliament Brexit chief David McAllister urged the Commission to support a plan to “safeguard our right to information”.
The German MEP said the current EU-UK agreement was “insufficient” to ensure the EU Parliament is fully involved in future changes to the relationship.
Parliamentary insiders say MEPs are mainly frustrated with the “weak” provisions in the trade and security treaty that for “parliamentary cooperation”.
“The European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly… as a forum to exchange views on the partnership,” the article reads.
One source said: “It’s ironic that they’ve created an opaque system stuffed with bureaucrats and unelected officials.”
But senior European Commission officials, while not granting over-reaching powers to MEPs, have vowed to keep them informed about future changes to the post-Brexit deal.
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Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Clara Martinez Alberola, his deputy, told a meeting of MEPs that eurocrats are working on plans to keep them updated.
She said: “The Commission is willing to keep Parliament informed of the work of the joint bodies under the TCA, in the same way as we do now.
“Our intention is to follow the same arrangements as far as the briefings before and after the meetings of the Partnership Council and the specialist committee.”
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But she didn’t make clear whether provisions will be extended to ensure MEPs can have a legislative say on the implementation of the UK-EU trade and security treaty.
MEPs are expected to vote to fully ratify the future relationship pact around February 23 after the deal was provisionally applied ahead of the end of the transition period.
They are currently drawing up committee reports and resolutions ahead of the special plenary session, which hasn’t official been announced yet.
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