February 24, 2021

British Parliament expressly approves trade agreement with the EU after Brexit



The UK House of Commons has approved the trade deal with the European Union (EU) for the post-Brexit era. The bill passed with 521 votes in favor, including those from the Labor Party, and 73 against. The text now goes to the House of Lords, where the goal is for it to be discussed until tonight. Once you get the green light from both chambers, you will receive the official assent of Queen Elizabeth II in the following hours, which will allow it to enter into force before the end of the Brexit transition period, at 23:00 GMT on the 31st.

During the debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed to have forged a “fantastic new relationship” with the EU. “We are taking this moment to forge a fantastic new relationship with our European neighbors, based on free trade and friendly cooperation,” he said.

Johnson has argued that the agreement with the EU has been negotiated with “incredible speed” and “in less than a year”, taking as an example the almost eight years that the EU needed with Uruguay, the five with Canada or the six with Japan . The prime minister has assured that the “central objective” of the law was to achieve something that the British had been told was “impossible”.

“This legislation embodies our vision, shared with other European neighbors, of a new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union as equal sovereigns, united by friendship, trade, history, interests and values, while respecting the freedom of action of the other “, has affirmed Johnson. “Now we are going to start a new chapter in our national history, signing trade agreements throughout the world, which will be added to the 63 countries with which we have already achieved it,” he added.

“Weak” agreement

Labor leader Keir Starmer has described the deal as weak, but has justified Labor support because the alternative would be devastating for Britain. “We only have one day before the end of the transition period and it is the only agreement there is,” Starmer said. “Therefore, the Labor Party will vote to implement this treaty to avoid a no-deal and put in place a basis from which we can build a strong future relationship with the EU,” he said.

Starmer has also criticized Johnson for ensuring there will be no tariffs. “It is not true and he knows it,” said the Labor leader, “the truth is that there will be an avalanche of checks, red tape and red tape for British companies.”

Theresa May, the former prime minister, has supported the deal, but has also criticized Starmer for calling it “weak.” “They had a chance for a better deal in 2019 and they voted against it,” May said. left office in 2019 after Parliament rejected his draft agreement to leave the European Union up to three times. In addition, it has said to be “disappointed” by what the agreement offers in terms of services.

The DUP, which has been in favor of leaving the European Union, has opposed the agreement negotiated by Johnson. The Unionists, with eight MPs in the Commons, are against the mechanism designed to keep the border between the two Ireland open, which forces goods arriving from Britain to be subjected to customs controls.

According to a survey of YouGov, the majority of the British – by a margin of more than six to one – want MPs to pass legislation on the trade deal. But the survey also suggests that fewer than one in five people think it’s a good deal. They are more inclined to view it as “neither good nor bad” than a primarily positive achievement, even among conservative voters.

In parallel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, They signed this Wednesday in a brief ceremony the three treaties that will regulate the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom from this Friday. Two copies of the treaty will be flown to London on a Royal Air Force plane for Johnson to sign. One will remain in London and the other, bound in blue leather and bearing the EU stars, will return to Brussels.

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