MEPs back Brexit resolution in Strasbourg plenary

Katrina Barker
October 6, 2017

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who said he is still aiming for a good deal, said the government must be prepared if talks fail.

The MEPs' resolution, backed by all the major political groups, is harsh about Britain's refusal, so far, to settle the exit bill, saying the "absence of any clear proposals has seriously impeded the negotiations".

The minister gave his support to the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator, the Frenchman Michel Barnier, supporting "entirely [Barnier's] approach.which consists in saying that until we have settled this problem.we can not move onto the other issues". Direct or indirect ECJ oversight of British courts when it comes to citizens rights is a key demand of Brussels. That taxpayers and the 27 member states do not have to pay for the consequences of a decision they did not make. It has already been significantly diluted at the latest round of Brexit talks in Brussels with clashes over the EU's insistence that the European Court of Justice must police EU citizens' rights in a post-Brexit world and the reluctance by the United Kingdom to name figures they will pay for the Brexit bill.

Members of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, France, condemned May's government on Tuesday, saying infighting in her cabinet was hindering talks on key exit issues including Britain's divorce bill.

"I abstained on the final vote on this resolution because I doubt how worthwhile it is for this Parliament to express an opinion now about the ongoing Brexit negotiations".

Davis, who is due back in Brussels next week, said the talks were making "real steps forward" but reiterated that Britain would walk away without a deal in March 2019 if necessary.

"The Prime Minister's speech in Florence was conciliatory, but speeches are not negotiation positions", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday at the beginning of the Brexit debate at the European Parliament.

The Brexit secretary told the Tory Party conference that work is under way at Whitehall "devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome".

The motion was proposed by the parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, who said: "There is a lack of clarity, there is even disunity [in the British government]".

Juncker, for his part, said at an European Union summit on Friday that "there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles will happen".

The Baker McKenzie study, produced in conjunction with the consulting firm Oxford Economics, found that WTO rules would result in tariffs and trade barriers such as increased paperwork that would drive up the cost of British goods and force European Union consumers to look for alternatives.

"To assess the state of the play objectively, there are still serious divergences, especially on the financial settlement", he warned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private, senior officials now fear time could run out for the reach the "heads of agreement" on a future trade deal with the EU.

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