Brexit is a 'failure' for the EU says Michel Barnier
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The European Parliament has been holding off on a vote on the deal, accusing the UK of breaching its agreements. But Conservative MP David Jones has told Express.co.uk the fact the bloc is now voting on the trade agreement proves they have given up on trying to exert pressure over Britain.
He said: “The fact that they are proceeding to ratify tends to support that they’ve come to terms with the fact we have now left the EU and they’re going to have to have a reasonable working relationship with us.
“And they’ve come to terms with the fact a trading relationship is something that’s valuable not just to the UK but also to the EU manufacturers who supply the UK.
“Not least it’s important to the German motor industry, which supplies about a million cars a year to the UK.”
The trade deal brokered by Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier has been provisionally applied since January 1 without being given consent by the European Parliament.
In the UK, Westminster gave its approval to the deal in an extraordinary sitting on December 30.
The European Parliament was due to hold a vote on the deal in March but delayed its decision, accusing the UK of breaching the terms of the withdrawal agreement.
It then delayed a vote again earlier this month citing similar reasons.
The EU was left outraged in March by action taken by the UK Government to protect trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, customs checks are required on goods travelling from Britain across the Irish Sea.
Last month the UK unilaterally extended the grace periods on the introduction of some checks by six months.
While the Government insisted the measures were “temporary and necessary”, the EU accused Britain of breaking international law and said it would not ratify the trade deal as it could not trust the UK.
Lord Frost and European Commission vie-president Maroš Šefčovič have held face-to-face talks to try and ease tensions over trade tensions in Northern Ireland.
Despite no solution having yet been found, the European Parliament has proceeded with a vote to ratify the trade deal anyway.
Mr Jones said: “I think that they have realised that they were dealing with a different negotiator with David Frost and that he would not have been unduly troubled if they had not ratified, especially given some of the issues we have been experiencing in Northern Ireland.
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“Fortunately that appears to be awaiting a bit at the moment and it does look as though Šefčovič is anxious to come to terms with that.
“So I think the initial scratchiness is dying down, which is good news.”
While MEPs are expected to ratify the deal, they will also vote on a 17-page accompanying resolution, calling Brexit a “historic mistake”.
This morning European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also issued a warning to the UK.
Addressing MEPs ahead of a vote on the deal she said the EU “will not hesitate” to use dispute resolution mechanisms in the Brexit deal if the UK breaches the agreement.
The agreement “protects European interests and preserves the integrity of our single market” and “ensures high levels of protection on everything from social and labour rights, to environmental protection, to tax transparency and state aid”, she said.
Ms von der Leyen added the deal has “real teeth”, with a binding dispute resolution mechanism and the possibility for “unilateral remedial measures where necessary”.
The commission president warned: “Let me be clear: We do not want to have to use these tools.
“But we will not hesitate to use them if necessary.”
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