"The EPP Group wants close cooperation with the UK and a comprehensive agreement on the future relationship. But we also have clear red lines and conditions. We will not approve a deal at any cost", warned the European Parliament's Trade Committee negotiator Christophe Hansen MEP, as MEPs vote this morning on their recommendation on the future partnership between the EU and the UK.
"Failure to agree on robust guarantees for fair play between European and British companies will mean no agreement. The EPP Group will not green light an agreement if the UK - in return for unprecedented market access - does not accept EU standards on, among other things, social, environmental, tax, state aid, and climate matters", said Hansen.
"This does not mean that we demand that the UK copies and pastes our Regulations after the end of the transition period, but rather that we agree on the non-regression on these standards while managing eventual future regulatory divergences to guarantee equivalent, but not necessarily identical, rules for all players. There is clearly a deal to be done if we overcome this question of wording. This would be in everyone’s best interest", Hansen explained.
He added: "We also continue to stand by the European Commission’s approach to seek a comprehensive agreement, rather than accept the UK’s salami tactics approach. We must also agree on the role of the European Court of Justice in interpreting EU rules. We cannot leave the door open to the setting-up of a two-speed justice system. The 3.1 million EU citizens working and living in the UK must enjoy the same rights as the more than 1 million UK citizens living on the continent", Hansen stressed.
The EPP Group also wants close cooperation in fighting crime and terrorism to be part of the new agreement with the UK. "We need to make sure that courts and law enforcement authorities continue to work together. For the police to share information, the UK must guarantee that despite not being a part of the EU or of the Schengen area, the information on and data of EU nationals is as well protected as they are under the EU system", said Hansen.
Hansen also recalled that the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement remains a non-negotiable pre-condition for the successful conclusion of a deal on the future partnership: "Failure to implement the divorce settlement will weigh heavily on the prospects for our future partnership.”
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States