European Parliament Ratifies EU-UK Trade Deal
The European Parliament has approved the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement, the vote shows.
The agreement was backed by 660 MPs and opposed by five, according to the EP.
The document must now be agreed by EU member states for it to finally come into force.
The UK has left the European Union, and on January 1 this year ended a transitional period during which almost everything in the relationship between the country and the Union remained as before. This also applied to trade: the sides did not apply duties to each other’s goods, because the UK continued to be subject to the rules of the EU single market.
The current trade and cooperation agreement was necessary in order to define, among other things, trade relations between the country and the union after the transition period. It was reached at the very end of December 2020 after difficult and lengthy negotiations, just days before the key end date for the transit period.
Without the agreement, the parties’ economic relations would have moved abruptly into a new phase, which would have entailed tangible problems. The agreement allowed for a smoother transition.
As the treaty was concluded in close proximity to the « hour X », it could not be ratified by the European Parliament and approved by the countries of the Union before 1 January. Therefore, the parties decided to apply it on a provisional basis until the treaty is finally ratified.
Under the terms of this new agreement, the UK did leave the EU single market and customs union, but the parties will continue free trade without duties or quotas.