Umunna – European Parliament resolution shows Government promises are unravelling

The European Parliament has passed a resolution setting out its red lines on Brexit, by an overwhelming majority of 516 to 133.

The resolution makes clear that: 

  • The UK will not be given even similar benefits as being in the Single Market and Customs Union, let alone the exact same benefits, as had been promised.
  • The UK is unable to start negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries in advance of its withdrawal.
  • Parallelism is out: substantial progress has to be made on the withdrawal agreement before talks can start on transition or future trade, and a future trade deal can only be agreed once the withdrawal agreement is agreed
  • The EU expects a financial payment as part of the withdrawal agreement.
  • A future trade deal would need to include equivalence in key areas including competition, trade and social policy, which means a bonfire of regulations is incompatible with a new UK-EU FTA.
  • There will be no sectoral deals that replicate the exact same benefits as being in the single market and customs union
  • There could be a transitional deal, but for a maximum of three years, during which period the ECJ would have legal authority.

Any Brexit deal would have to be ratified by the European Parliament, as well as by the member states. 

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The European Parliament has provided the latest collision between the Government’s Brexit rhetoric and reality.

“Leave campaigners promised the earth and said the UK Government would secure many of the benefits we enjoy as a member once we are out. Those promises made by Ministers like Boris Johnson and other Leave campaigners are unravelling by the day less than a week after Article 50 was triggered

“They need to start levelling with the British people, and explain how they are going to keep the promises they made to the British people, starting with how a trade deal with the ‘exact same benefits’ is going to be delivered in two years. Only by seeking to retain our membership of the Single Market is that achievable, but our unambitious and defeatist Prime Minister has ruled it out before negotiations have even begun, putting UK jobs at risk.”

/ends

Notes to editors:

The resolution is here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170405IPR70299/antonio-tajani-president-of-the-ep