Wednesday, 28 April 2021

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ratified by EU

The European Union (EU) Parliament has approved the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) of December 2020. The agreement has been applied provisionally since the end of the Brexit transition period. 

The EU Parliament notes in a Statement of Wednesday 28 April 2021 - "The consent decision was adopted by 660 votes for, five against and 32 abstentions, while the accompanying resolution, setting out Parliament’s evaluation of and expectations from the deal, passed by 578 votes, with 51 against and 68 abstentions. The vote took place on Tuesday (27 April), with results announced on Wednesday (28 April).

On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators had agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation. ..."


important caveat is that MEPs underlined that "Parliament must play a full role in monitoring how the agreement is applied, including by being involved in unilateral EU actions under the agreement and having its views taken into account."

Regarding Northern Ireland, the Statement notes that MEPs pointed to preservation of peace on the island of Ireland as one of "Parliament’s main goals in agreeing the future relationship.

MEPs condemned the UK’s recent unilateral actions that are in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement. They call on the UK government “to act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements which it has signed”, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and apply them based on a timetable jointly set up with the European Commission."

With Parliament’s consent, the agreement will enter into force once the EU Council has concluded it by 30 April.

The EU Parliament's Resolution of 28 April 2021:

The Resolution should be read in full for a proper understanding of the EU Parliament's position. 

Para 9 is key from a human rights perspective. The EU Parliament has insisted that it play a full role in the monitoring and implementation of the agreement. Parliament welcomed the Commission's commitment regarding Parliament's role in relation to certain matters including involving Parliament being involved in any proposal to terminate of suspend Part Three of the Agreement (Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) should the UK not respect its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights.

EU Council:

29 April 2021 - EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement - Council adopts decision on conclusion.

The Council has today adopted a decision on the conclusion of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement and the security of information agreement. This is the last step for the EU in the ratification of the agreements.

The UK will now be notified of the finalisation of the internal EU procedures. Following this, the agreements and accompanying texts will be published in the Official Journal of the EU before the end of the month. On 1 May 2021, both agreements will enter into force.

Ratification by UK:

European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 - the Act was mostly brought into force at 11 pm on 31 December 2020 ("IP Completion Day") by The European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1662).

UK Parliament:

Lords quiz Gove and Frost on Northern Ireland Protocol and Brexit 'unfinished business'

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