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#Brexit steering group in the European Parliament rejects renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement




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The European Parliament’s newly constituted Brexit Steering Group, which will continue to be chaired by Guy Verhofstadt MEP (pictured), discussed the prospect of working with the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with the EU's Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier today (24 July).

Barnier tweeted to congratulate Boris Johnson and to say that he was looking forward to working with him on achieving an orderly Brexit.

The European Parliament reiterated its view, which has senior members from each of its most powerful groups, except the far right (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformers group (ECR): “The Brexit Steering Group (BSG) wishes Mr Johnson, the new UK Prime Minister, well and looks forward to working closely and constructively with him and his Government. It will find the BSG, and the European Parliament, to be an open and effective partner in the Brexit process.

"The BSG remains very strongly of the view that, in the event that the UK decides not to revoke Article 50 and stay in the European Union, an orderly exit of the UK from the European Union is in the overwhelming interests of both parties.


"The parliament has restated its commitment to an orderly Brexit but makes it clear that they are sticking to the agreement with the UK (European Council Decision (EU) 2019/584) that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be opened during the extension period, which ends on 31 October.

"They are, however, open to considering changes to the Political Declaration, in particular if such changes provided for much greater detail and a more ambitious future EU-UK partnership such that deployment of the Irish backstop would not be necessary.”

Regarding a no-deal Brexit

“The BSG notes that recent statements, not least those made during the Conservative Party leadership campaign, have greatly increased the risk of a disorderly exit of the UK. It points out that a no-deal exit would be economically very damaging, even if such damage would not be inflicted equally on both parties.

"It commends the preparedness and contingency measures taken by the EU Institutions and 27 member states in preparation for a no-deal exit, but stresses that such an exit will not be mitigated by any form of arrangements or mini deals between the EU and the UK. The BSG recalls that there is no transition period without a withdrawal agreement. It reiterates the European Parliament’s determination to ensure that, in a no-deal scenario, there would be no disruption for EU citizens in the UK or for UK citizens in the EU, whose rights should be fully safeguarded.”

Next steps

The BSG will continue to monitor the situation and, working in close liaison with the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents and the EU’s Chief Negotiator, is ready to meet at short notice should this be necessary.

The new Brexit Steering Group has made two changes to its team. MEPs Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) is replaced by former European Parliament Presdient, Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT). The GUE/NGL group (Nordic Green Left Group) have replaced Gabi Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE) with Martin Schirdewan (GUE/NGL, DE).

Members of the Brexit Steering Group

Guy Verhofstadt
Danuta Hübner
Roberto Gualtieri
Philippe Lamberts
Martin Schirdewan
Antonio Tajani

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