Brexit may 'ignite true reform' in the EU says MEP
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The French European Affairs Minister said he supported MEPs’ vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday as he stressed the commitments signed by the UK will be upheld with “vigilance”. He wrote on Twitter: “I welcome the very clear vote of the European Parliament in favour of the Brexit agreement.
“It defends our interests, it’s a good deal.
“It must be well applied. Its ratification will enable us to uphold the commitments made.
“With vigilance and demand, at all times.”
But the comments backfired as French citizens were quick to lash out against Mr Beaune, with some demanding France follows Britain out.
One Twitter user replied: “The kind of non-news that EU world champion slowness has the secret.
“Brexit took place 120 days ago … We wonder why the European Parliament was not able to ratify it in a month and in what world do these 705 parliamentarians live?”
And another: “You can see that Brexit went well.
“From now on, France must get out of Schengen.
“Common sense! Let’s be optimistic what the heck.”
Another person added: “It will be necessary to explain to us why one agreement without customs duty or limit of exchanges in a context where GB does not respect any rules.
“GB-India agreement will bring in underpaid workers and we will be in competition with this country.
“All the arguments for leaving the EU are there.
The deal, thrashed out by Boris Johnson’s Government and the EU over months of difficult negotiations, was approved by 660 votes to five, with 32 abstentions.
There are a few remaining formalities that need to be completed before the deal, struck by the Prime Minister and the EU on Christmas Eve last year, is finally ratified.
Business organisations have warned further work will be necessary to improve the trading arrangements under the terms of the deal.
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Mr Johnson said: “This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.
“Now is the time to look forward to the future and to building a more global Britain.”
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the vote and said the Trade and Co-operation Agreement “marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK”.
But in an acknowledgement of EU concerns about the Prime Minister’s approach to deals with Brussels, she warned: “Faithful implementation is essential.”
The UK and EU are at odds over the way the earlier Brexit divorce deal is being implemented in Northern Ireland and there have also been rows over coronavirus vaccine supplies and the diplomatic status of the bloc’s ambassador in London.
On Tuesday, Ms von der Leyen said the agreement has “real teeth” and the EU will not hesitate to take action if Mr Johnson breaches its terms.
European Council president Charles Michel said the approval of the deal “marks a major step forward” in UK-EU relations and “opens a new era”.
He said Brussels will work constructively with the UK as an “important friend and partner”.
Brexit Minister Lord Frost said the vote is an “important moment”.
He said: “Today’s vote brings certainty and allows us to focus on the future.
“There will be much for us and the EU to work on together through the new partnership council and we are committed to working to find solutions that work for both of us.
“We will always aim to act in that positive spirit but we will also always stand up for our interests when we must – as a sovereign country in full control of our own destiny.”
The provisional application of the deal was due to expire at the end of the month but that prospect has now been avoided.
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