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Brexit: EU Parliament makes tough demands for talks

February 12, 2020

 

 

The European Parliament has approved a tough opening position for talks with the UK on its future relationship with the EU.

 

MEPs called on the UK to follow EU policies in a host of areas as the price for an ambitious free trade deal.

 

These range from chemicals regulation to climate change, food labelling and subsidies for companies.

 

This should be with "a view to dynamic alignment" - code for the UK adopting European rules as they are introduced.

 

The wide-ranging resolution also called for measures to ensure that Brexit does not cause gender discrimination, for a crackdown on tax havens with links to the UK, and for a joint UK-EU position at the upcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow in November.

 

How the EU's language has toughened up


It's an attempt to influence the detailed instructions for the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier - "the mandate" - currently being discussed by the European Commission and the governments of the EU's 27 member states.

 

When Mr Barnier published a first draft in early February, there was no mention of alignment and definitely not the automatic kind.

 

Then a new version emerged that had been tweaked by diplomats from national governments.

 

It had extra references to the need for a level playing field - commitments by the UK to fair economic competition to prevent European businesses being undercut by their British rivals. And those commitments would have to evolve over time.

 

A reference to "building on" existing access to British waters for European fishing boats was upgraded to "upholding" it.

 

The UK's participation in the Galileo satellite positioning system was downgraded from "should" to "could."

And now MEPs have gone further than all of them

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