EU Parliament Refuses to Set Date for Ratifying Brexit Trade Deal, Again

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The European Union parliament has once again refused to set a firm date for ratifying the trade deal for Brexit citing concerns about whether the UK is implementing the agreement properly.

Date for ratifying Brexit trade deal still in limbo as EU parliament refuses to set date

The leaders of the European Parliament are once again refusing to make a commitment for a date on which to ratify the EU-UK Brexit trade deal, citing concerns over the conduct of the UK and whether they are implementing the agreement properly, the Independent reported.

Leaders of the party group had been expected to announce a date sometime in late April, but that has changed following a meeting in which they announced they would be deferring until they have reassurances from the government of Boris Johnson.

A meeting is slated to occur on Thursday made up of MEPs on parliament’s foreign affairs and trade committees will vote individually on the agreement, however, the main plenary meeting, which is required for full ratification, has been delayed. UK negotiator David Frost is scheduled to meet his EU counterpart and the two are expected to discuss the issue of extending any grace period.

Addressing the delay, Christophe Hansen, a Luxembourgish centre-right MEP who leads on Brexit for the parliament’s trade committee, gave an explanation, saying that the ratification has been “deferred due to the need for progress on [the] roadmap for pragmatic yet full implementation” of the deal.

Latest delay marks the second time ratification has been stalled

The trade deal has been in a provisional status of operation since 1 January. Ratification was originally slated for March but was delayed due to a decision by the Parliament’s conference of presidents, The Independent reported at the time. At that time, the UK unilaterally moved to extend grace periods on post-Brexit controls at Northern Ireland’s ports for at least six months. The British government was concerned that implementing the agreement it had negotiated in full as the prior stipulated time would cause shortages, as well as would have furthered economic problems in Northern Ireland.

Vote for ratification could come late-April

European Parliament President David Sassoli has proclaimed that 26 April is the last practical date for a vote in the legislatures plenary and vows there will be no extension.

However, reports suggest that the UK has made a request to the EU for more time to respond to legal action launched by the European Commission over the alleged breach.