The European Parliament is expected to ratify the post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreement, which is a crucial step in maintaining tariff- and quota-free trade. Since January, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has been in effect on a trial basis. MEPs voted on Tuesday, with the outcome expected on Wednesday. Tensions over Brexit remain high, with France threatening “reprisals” against the UK over new fishing restrictions.
🇬🇧🇪🇺 MEPs are set to finally ratify the EU-UK post-Brexit trade agreement. The @Europarl_EN's political group leaders have set a date next week to vote on the deal in plenary. The UK was warned it should not expect new concessions.
— EURACTIV (@EURACTIV) April 23, 2021
Trade in Northern Ireland is also a thorny problem
Northern Ireland is de facto part of the EU’s single market thanks to a separate protocol, so goods arriving from the United Kingdom must pass through EU checks. There has been some disruption in the exchange since Brexit. The TCA covers goods trade between the EU and the UK, but no facilities. Services such as banking, insurance, advertisement, and legal advice control the UK economy.
After the UK left the EU, the TCA has resulted in more paperwork, higher prices, and less trade between the two countries. Global affairs, financial services, and student exchanges are among the fields not covered by the UK trade agreement. The TCA covers goods trade between the EU and the UK, but no facilities.
Cross-Channel tensions are affecting the UK economy
Prior to the start of the MEPs’ debate, French Europe Minister Clément Beaune accused the United Kingdom of obstructing fishing rights. He suggested that the EU could retaliate with “reprisals” in the financial services sector.
“The United Kingdom anticipates a number of financial services authorizations from us.” “As long as we don’t have assurances on fishing and other topics, we won’t offer any,” he said on the French news channel BFMTV. Because of difficulties securing licenses, French fishermen have complained that they are unable to operate in British waters.
Meanwhile, an EU ban on live shellfish exports from the UK has harmed British seafood exporters. The majority of the company is done by Scottish companies, some of which are now in financial trouble.
Fishing rights were a major sticking point in the negotiations for the United Kingdom, which saw control of access to its waters as a symbol of sovereignty. “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said when the UK trade agreement was decided in December. “If anything, this agreement will encourage our companies and exporters to do even more business with our European friends,” he said.
Brexit is described as a “lose-lose situation”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said in the European Parliament that Brexit is a divorce and a notice of people’s feelings: “It’s a failure of the European Union, and we have to draw lessons from it.” Brexit, according to German MEP David McAllister, “will still be a lose-lose situation,” but he urged fellow MEPs to ratify the TCA.
The UK trade agreement has already received overwhelming support from two main European Parliament committees. However, MEPs will be asked to declare the UK’s withdrawal from the EU a “historic error” in a draft resolution. The TCA “comes with real teeth, with a binding conflict resolution process,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. She also said that if possible, the EU will use its teeth.