Brexit news: UK accepts EU’s request to postpone ratification of Boris deal | Politics | News


Brussels requests that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement remains provisionally applied until April 30 because of holdups in its attempt to translate the 1,240-word document into the bloc’s more than 20 languages. A Government spokesman expressed “disappointment” at the EU’s failure to prepare for the European Parliament to vote on the pact by the previously agreed deadline, February 28. They said: “Today we have agreed to extend the deadline for the EU to ratify the deal until 30 April.

“It is disappointing the EU has not completed its internal processes in the agreed timeframe, given the uncertainty it creates for businesses and individually on both sides. We expect the EU to meet the new timeline.”

Lord Frost, the PM’s chief negotiator, had previously questioned the EU’s move to delay the full ratification.

The process is currently held up because the European Council and Commission are still translating the 1,246-page treaty into the bloc’s more than 20 official languages.

 

Eurocrats were meant to have completed this task before February 28, a deadline agreed with the UK, so MEPs could cast the deciding vote to green-light the future relationship pact.

But they have applied to Britain for an extension amid fears that the legal document won’t be ready in all of the EU’s languages before April 30.

Of the delay, Lord Frost said: “We have heard informally from the Commission today that we are likely to get a formal request to extend the two-month period that is in the treaty for ratification on the EU side.

“We wait to see what that request constitutes and how long they wish to extend the process for. Obviously, it is a little disappointing given that we did discuss this only a month ago.”

Even a leading MEP involved in the Brexit process for EU Parliament hit out at the delay.

Dutch socialist Kati Piri suggested that her colleagues have been ready to vote on the agreement for some time now.

She told an online event yesterday: “We are ready to vote.

“The European Parliament has finalised the scrutiny process with 16 opinion-giving committees…in the lead with the international trade and foreign affairs committees, we have everything prepared to go to a vote.

“If we need to, we could still do it this week but we are waiting for the official referral from the Council.”

Despite playing a leading role in the EU Parliament’s scrutiny of the Brexit trade treaty, Ms Piri may miss the vote as she is contesting the Dutch national elections on March 17.

“I am not even sure I can vote on the report on which we have been working on for almost a year,” she said.

 

German MEP David McAllister, the EU Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, said the Commission had put in a request to extend provisional application of the treaty until April 30.

This means both sides would still benefit from zero-tariff, zero-quota trade despite the pact not being fully legally ratified.

Mr McAllister added: “This is a legal requirement that would ensure that all authentic linguistic versions are available before the agreement is formally concluded.”