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European Parliament lays out conditions for approval of Brexit agreement

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-05 21:55

STRASBOURG - Members of European Parliament (MEPs), meeting here for a plenary session in Strasbourg, voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to adopt a resolution outlining major conditions for the approval of any final settlement on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

Adopted by 516 votes in favor to 133 against, with 50 abstentions, the resolution establishes the key principles by which the European Parliament will be willing to greenlight the outcomes of Brexit negotiations.

In the resolution, MEPs emphasized the need to protect citizens' rights by securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU.

Citizens' rights were highlighted in the resolution, which noted in particular the Irish citizens. The resolution called on all parties to remain committed to the Northern Ireland peace process and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

MEPs also stressed that until its official withdrawal, Britain remains a full member of the EU, with all the privileges and obligations implied by membership. In particular, this includes financial commitments which may extend beyond the British withdrawal.

Britain's obligations as an EU member also make it illegal for London to enter into trade talks with a third country before it leaves the EU, and to engage in bilateral negotiations with one or some EU member states.

The text of the resolution also warns against use of security cooperation as a bargaining tool for a future EU-UK economic relationship, reiterating that the four freedoms, namely free movement of goods, capital, services and people, are indivisible preconditions of access to the EU single market, and refusing any cherry-picking on economic arrangements.

The European Parliament also insisted that any future economic relationship can only be discussed in terms of transitional arrangements, and only after "substantial progress" has been made on the terms of the UK withdrawal.

MEPs also sought to establish their ongoing and close involvement in the negotiations, intending to build on the elements set out in the resolution as negotiations develop, for example by adopting further resolutions, including on specific matters or sector-specific issues.

The resolution's conditions will guide the imminent negotiations, as any final agreement will need to win the approval of the European Parliament prior to implementation.

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