Today, the European Commission presented its proposals for opening negotiations on a new partnership between the EU and United Kingdom. The mandate for negotiations on the future relationship, set to be presented to the European Parliament on Wednesday 5 February, will also be debated by MEPs next week in February's plenary session, including a vote in a resolution. The message from the European Parliament will be clear: the levels of the ambition in the future relationship will be dependent on the UK Government's willingness to maintain a level playing field in aligning to EU rules in crucial areas such as social and environmental standards, as well as tax and competition policy areas.
Iratxe García Pérez, S&D Group leader said:
"In building a new partnership between the EU and the UK, we have to face the reality that nothing can be as good as EU membership when it comes to enjoying rights and benefits in the EU. We are committed to an ambitious agreement with the UK in the future. However, the more barriers that are put up by the UK government, the more difficult it becomes to achieve this ambition. However, if the UK is willing to get on board with a level playing field in terms of standards in social, labour and environmental areas and commits to open and fair competition, then we can look forward to a partnership that works for workers, consumers and citizens on both sides. With the Commission as the only channel for negotiations with the UK, and with the full involvement of the European Parliament that will ultimately give its consent, the EU will be able to preserve, throughout the next phase, the same levels of unity that we have achieved so far."
Pedro Silva Pereira, S&D spokesperson on Brexit, said:
"Looking towards the future relationship we need to guarantee our shared high standards of environmental, social and labour protection through strong and binding commitments to a level playing field. As we will now enter a new phase of negotiations, we will continue to take a constructive approach in building a future relationship that serves our common interests while safeguarding the integrity of the single market, the customs union and the four freedoms."
Bernd Lange, S&D spokesperson on trade, added:
"Even though no free trade agreement can ever replicate membership of the Union and its Single Market, an ambitious trade agreement that reflects our lasting strategic and economic partnership with far reaching access to the EU and UK markets, will be very much dependent on how much the UK government is willing to play ball on the ‘level-playing field’: respecting and aligning to EU rules in important areas such as social and environmental standards and tax and competition policy."