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World

EU Parliament nears UK trade deal vote

  • The EU-UK trade pact was provisionally applied on January 1, after nine months of tough negotiations and a last minute handshake just before Christmas last year.
Published April 13, 2021

BRUSSELS: The European Parliament will take key committee votes towards ratifying the EU-UK trade deal this week, MEPS said, even if a full vote has again been delayed over concerns Britain has already broken terms of its divorce.

The EU-UK trade pact was provisionally applied on January 1, after nine months of tough negotiations and a last minute handshake just before Christmas last year.

The UK parliament has ratified the deal, but MEPs were given until April 30th to give their say, with tensions simmering over the consequences of Brexit on the island of Ireland, where violence has erupted.

Political group chiefs meeting in Brussels on Tuesday decided to allow the parliament's trade and foreign affairs committee's to vote on the deal, most likely on Thursday, EU parliament officials said.

However, in order for a full vote to be scheduled, MEPs said they were seeking assurances from Britain that it would honour its commitments in the Brexit deal.

We need "progress on (the) roadmap for pragmatic, yet full implementation of the withdrawal agreement," tweeted Luxembourg MEP Christophe Hansen, who is spearheading the deal's passage through parliament.

Without the ratification by the end of the month, or an agreement with the UK to extend the provisional application further, the trade deal would cease to apply.

That would leave the UK and the European Union with no arrangements on trade.

MEPs are angry because Britain has delayed setting up checks on food going to Northern Ireland until October, calling it a unilateral change to the divorce pact.

The EU has launched a legal process against Britain's move, even as officials from both sides try to work out a solution.

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