UK warned not to negotiate on trade agreements until it has officially left the EU

UK warned not to negotiate on trade agreements until it has officially left the EU

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European Parliament has backed a “red lines” resolution on how Brexit negotiations should be handled, warning Britain against engaging in bilateral talks or trade agreements until it officially exits the EU.

The resolution lays down the key principles and conditions for the European Parliament’s approval of the UK’s withdrawal agreement.

And high on the list of principles is that it would be a “breach of EU law” for the UK to negotiate trade agreements with third countries before it officially exits the EU.

In a vote yesterday (April 5) MEPs approved the resolution 516 votes in favour, 133 against, with 50 abstentions.

“The resolution notes that it would be a breach of EU law for the UK to negotiate trade agreements with third countries before it left the EU, and warns against the UK engaging in bilateral talks with one or some EU member states on the withdrawal proceedings or the EU-UK future relationship,” says an European Parliament release.

“The UK will continue to enjoy its rights as a member of the EU until its departure.  At the same time, however, it will also have to shoulder its obligations, including financial obligations stemming inter alia from the current long-term EU budget.”

In addition, European Parliament plans to adopt further resolutions, including those relating to sector-specific issues, in due course. And stresses the importance of securing “equal and fair” treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa as well as reminding Britain of its obligations, including financial commitments, until its official departure.

MEPs also stress there will be no “cherry picking”, i.e. membership of the single market is only possible with free movement of goods, capital, services and people.

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