‘Don’t mess with Parliament’ von der Leyen warned MEPs ‘will not rubber stamp’ Brexit deal

Brexit: Lamberts says 'due process' will be needed for any deal

Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts has insisted that the European Parliament should be respected as Brexit negotiations continue despite needing time to be ratified by MEPs. Brussels chief Ursula von der Leyen has said there is a “path” to an agreement between the UK and European Union on a post-Brexit trade deal but arguments over fishing rights continue. Mrs von der Leyen conceded that the route to an agreement is “very narrow” and resolution of the difficulties over fishing may prove impossible.

Speaking to Euronews, Mr Lamberts said: “We’ve sent very clear messages to them that they have to find a solution that’s part of their brief.

“It’s not like they can negotiate until the last minute and then the Parliament rubber stamps.

“I have a lot of respect for this Parliament.

“I have no indication from the Commission that they want us to just follow this without any due process.

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“Part of democracy is due process and the Brits know that better than anybody else, therefore, we are going to give due process.

“Frankly speaking, on average this Parliament has had more 130 working days to examine any treaty in the past and now if we do that over three weeks it will be an extraordinary effort.

“Don’t mess with the Parliament.

“This is a matter of respect for democratic institutions.”

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The coming days will be “decisive” as the clock ticks down until the end of the month when the current arrangements between the two sides expire.

Mrs von der Leyen told MEPs that could mean the EU being allowed to act in retaliation if the UK flouts subsidy rules, while there has also been an agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not undercut existing common labour and environmental standards.

But difficulties remain over what happens in the future if either side changes its rules.

Mr Johnson has said no prime minister could accept a situation where Brussels could automatically impose punitive measures if it changes its regulations and the UK fails to follow suit.

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However it is on fishing where the two sides remain furthest apart, Mrs von der Leyen said.

She said that “as things stand I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not”.

On the “level playing field” – the measures aimed at preventing unfair competition – there is a need for “robust mechanisms” governing state aid and standards.

“On state aid, we have made progress based on common principles, guarantees of domestic enforcement and the possibility to autonomously remedy the situation when needed,” she said.

“On standards, we have agreed a strong mechanism of non-regression. That’s a big step forward.”

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