Over the course of the last week, a final set of European Parliamentary Committees, including ECON, EMPL (employment), ITRE (industry) and IMCO (market & consumers), published opinions regarding the Parliament’s recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
These four committees represent policy areas that are of significant importance to the trade negotiations and each opinion will be considered carefully by the final report’s authors on the INTA (international trade) and AFET (foreign affairs) committees.
In general, all committee opinions enforce the Commission’s negotiating position, including on commitments to the level playing field, the CJEU jurisdiction on EU affairs and the importance of the UK to adhere to the Withdrawal Agreement terms.
On occasion, the committees push the boundaries of or go beyond the asks of the EU position.
The EMPL Committee ‘encourages’ the UK to take part in the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information and urges both parties to agree provisions on the continuation of mutual participation and financial investment in the Erasmus+ programme, particularly as regards traineeships for vocational education and training students, apprentices and recent graduates.
The ECON Committee condemns the UK Government’s refusal to accept a similar level of transparency in negotiations, suggests that public procurement is essential to achieve a level playing field and calls for a regular policy dialogue to monitor the implementation of ‘the SDGs’ (i.e. Sustainable Development Goals – unclear if this refers solely to the EU’s own SDGs, to which the UK has no requirement to adhere to).
The IMCO Committee calls for the needs and interests of European SMEs to be taken into account when negotiating the single market chapter of the agreement on market access facilitation and encourages the parties to establish SME contact points, believes that the arrangements should include provisions on market access and national treatment under host state rules to ensure that EU service providers are treated in a non-discriminatory manner by the UK and requests that both sides work towards the simplification of customs procedure requirements and formalities for traders or economic operators, including for SMEs.
The ITRE Committee wishes to ensure common rules for offshore renewable energy and pipeline infrastructure to which the UK could be a partner; expects the UK to comply with the highest nuclear safety, security and radiation protection standards (with no mention of how this could be enforced or monitored) and considers if beneficial for both sides to aim for the UK’s regulatory alignment with regard to the EU’s future single European data space and future regulatory measures in the area of AI.
The AFET and INTA rapporteurs closed the tabling of amendments on 26 March and intend to vote on the final draft on 15 June. Should the file be approved, it has been scheduled to be debated during the first session on 17 June in plenary.
To access the EMPL opinion, please click here.
To access the ECON opinion, please click here.
To access the IMCO opinion, please click here.
To access the ITRE opinion, please click here.