MEPs to lay out conditions for two-year Brexit deal


The demands the European Parliament will insist upon to approve any Brexit deal are to be decided by MEPs as they thrash out their red lines for a withdrawal agreement.

MEPs will debate on Wednesday what terms they want from the UK in order to back an exit settlement in two years' time.

The European Parliament effectively holds a veto on any Brexit deal as it must be approved by a majority of MEPs in a vote after having first received the assent of a qualified majority of leaders in the European Council.

The meeting comes after Prime Minister Theresa May said curbs on freedom of movement would not come into force straight after Britain has quit the European Union.

Speaking during a trip to Saudi Arabia, Mrs May said there would be an "implementation" phase once a deal had been struck, with business and governments needing a "period of time" to adjust to the new rules.

"In terms of the deal that we negotiate and the arrangements that will come there, what we have talked about, you've used the phrase transitional phase; I have used the phrase implementation period," Mrs May said.

"If you think about it, once we've got the deal, once we've agreed what the new relationship will be for the future, it will be necessary for there to be a period of time when businesses and governments are adjusting systems and so forth, depending on the nature of the deal - but a period of time when that deal will be implemented.

The draft resolution MEPs will vote on insists Britain must meet all its financial obligations to the bloc, which some estimates have put as high as £56 billion.

The statement of intent also makes it clear there can no trade-off between security and the future economic relationship between the EU and UK.

No cherry-picking of EU membership will be allowed, according to the draft resolution, with access to the single market only permitted if the UK accepts free movement of workers.

The Northern Irish peace process must continue and no hard border with the Irish Republic established, according to the resolution.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani has repeatedly put guarantees over the future of some 3.3 million EU nationals in the UK centre stage in withdrawal negotiations.

Mr Tagani has made it clear the European Parliament is prepared to use its veto on any deal if it is unhappy with the outcome.

The draft resolution also insists that any deal on future EU-UK trade arrangements be delayed until after Britain's withdrawal, and for a transitional period to a new trade deal to last no more than three years after the expected date of Brexit in 2019.

The resolution suggests Britain could be offered "association" status similar to that enjoyed by Ukraine, and rules out the UK engaging in any trade deals with third countries ahead of withdrawal, or conducting talks with EU states on a bilateral basis.

Ukip MEP and former party leader Nigel Farage has suggested he will make a robust contribution to the European Parliament debate on Brexit terms.