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MEPs back tough EU negotiating stance with UK

AFP  |  Strasbourg (France) 

The European Parliament on Wednesday backed a tough EU negotiating position with Britain that emphasises access for EU fishing boats and a continued role for the European Court of Justice.

The vote, which passed 579 in favour and 24 against, is non-binding but follows the general lines of a mandate whose details are to be finalised by the European Commission and member states ahead of negotiations.

The talks aim to work out the future relationship between the EU and Britain following the latter's exit from the bloc two weeks ago.

Currently, a transition period running to the end of the year lets Britain operate almost like an EU member state while the negotiations take place.

The parliament stated that Britain going forward "must not have the same rights and benefits as a member state of the EU" and yet has to comply with a number of conditions, including following EU norms and standards.

But a British government spokesman in London reacted by saying: "The British people voted to be independent with control over our rules and laws, so we will not accept alignment to EU rules in any way."

The European Commission's pointman on Brexit, Michel Barnier, who is to handle the negotiations, has already set out many of the conditions the EU is seeking to impose.

He has stressed that the EU wants to ensure a "level playing field" with Britain upholding EU norms on labour, the environment, taxes and state aid, as well as a deal to allow EU fishing boats access to UK waters.

From next year, London's powerful financial sector will lose its access to the EU market except where the EU grants sub-sector "equivalences" that can be unilaterally withdrawn at short notice, according to Barnier.

The EU also wants the ECJ to be the final arbiter deciding issues relating to European law in a future UK accord.

The nonbinding resolution passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday enshrines all those issues, and stresses its determination "to prevent any kind of 'dumping' in the framework of the future EU-UK relationship".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 13 2020. 00:02 IST