The Withdrawal Agreement is fair, balanced and provides legal certainty, MEPs said in a resolution reiterating the European Parliament’s support for an “orderly Brexit”.
The European Parliament continues to support an “orderly Brexit” based on the already negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, MEPs reaffirmed in the resolution adopted Wednesday with 544 votes in favor, 126 against and 38 abstentions.
The document also underlines that the existing Withdrawal Agreement takes into account the UK’s red lines and the EU’s principles, providing a fair and balanced solution.
Parliament emphasised that the Agreement safeguards the rights and life choices of European and British citizens, provides a financial settlement mechanism for the UK’s obligations, and addresses the UK’s request for a transition period.
In addition, the Withdrawal Agreement provides a necessary backstop mechanism to safeguard the status quo in Ireland by protecting the Good Friday Agreement and ensuring North-South cooperation.
In the resolution, Members confirmed that they would be ready to return to the EU’s original proposal for a Northern Ireland-only backstop; they are also open to examining “alternative solutions” if they are legally and operationally credible and in line with EU guiding principles. MEPs stressed, however, that they will not consent to a Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop.
UK solely responsible for a “no deal” exit
Regarding recent developments in the UK, MEPs pointed out that the UK would have to assume full responsibility for a “no deal” exit and the serious consequences that this would entail.
Parliament also emphasised that a “no deal” scenario would not remove the UK’s obligations and commitments on financial settlements, protection of citizens’ rights, and compliance with the Good Friday Agreement, which are necessary preconditions for Parliament’s approval of any future relationship between the EU and the UK.
In this light, MEPs welcomed the preparedness and contingency planning measures for a “no-deal scenario” adopted by the EU Institutions and member states.
Citizens remain Parliament’s key priority
Safeguarding the rights and life choices of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU remains Parliament’s top priority, with MEPs expressing concerns at the implementation of the UK’s Settlement Scheme.
MEPs also encouraged the other 27 member states to adopt a generous and consistent approach in this regard, and to provide legal certainty to British citizens resident across the EU.
Members are open to a possible extension of the Article 50 negotiation period, if requested by the UK, provided it is justified and has a specific purpose, such as avoiding a “no-deal” departure, holding general elections or a referendum, revoking Article 50, or approving the Withdrawal Agreement.
They also added that an extension should not affect the work and functioning of the EU institutions.