Brexit may 'ignite true reform' in the EU says MEP
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The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to ratify the post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and UK on Wednesday, bringing to an end years of fraught negotiations. The Parliament gave its consent to the deal with 660 votes in favour, five against and 32 abstentions – a necessary final step for the deal to come into force permanently. Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the ratification as approval as a more stable foundation for the UK-EU relationship.
He said in a statement: “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 also welcomed the vote, saying the Trade and Cooperation Agreement “marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK”.
The deal is without a doubt a huge triumph for Mr Johnson, who in 2019, won a thumping majority at the general election with the promise “to get Brexit done”.
However, while Brexit might be done, Lord David Frost, the UK minister in charge of relations with the EU, still has a lot of more negotiating to do, according to Alan Winters, director of the Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.
Professor Winters told Express.co.uk that the next five-to-ten years will see many changes in the trade relationship.
He said: “Trade relationships do get renegotiated.
“This one has got various clauses that allow full review after five years, for example.
“You can have a review sooner than that if issues on standards, the so-called level playing field, come up.
“You have also got 19 committees, none of them have been constituted yet, but there is a whole structure that allows changes.”
Professor Winters noted there is “a lot more to be done”.
He added: “For example, professional qualifications… These are elements of the single market that would be useful.
“But the EU has been clear: ‘We can’t have the single market pick and mix.’
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“We will then have to work really hard to get them.”
Professor Winters also claimed Mr Johnson should swallow his pride and strike a veterinary agreement similar to the one the bloc has with Switzerland in the immediate future.
He said: “They all say, ‘If we do that it will not be Brexit’, but nobody is suggesting to tear up the referendum.
“It is, however, becoming clear that a number of things are proving very costly.
“So, one simple thing one could do is sign a standard veterinary agreement.”
He added: “My solution would be just, ‘Swallow your pride, we understand that it might not be a pure Brexit but there is no such thing as total sovereignty’.
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“You always compromise in order to get stuff done.”
The Swiss follow EU rules on food safety and animal health almost to the letter.
As a consequence there has been no border regulatory controls for trade in animals and animal products between Switzerland and the EU since 2009.
Under the deal Switzerland must keep updating its rules in line with the EU but has a minimal role in formulating those rules.
The details are made clear by Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).
It states: “Switzerland seeks to represent its position to the EU when legislation is being drafted and as scientific developments occur.
“It does this by participating in working groups and in the standing committee.
“Its scope for influence is, however, limited since Switzerland does not have voting rights.”
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