(Updates with Commision head, Johnson feedback)
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, April 28 (Reuters) – The European Parliament has overwhelmingly backed the post-Brexit commerce deal between Britain and the European Union, clearing the final hurdle in the direction of its ratification, whereas expressing clear distrust of the British authorities.
EU lawmakers cleared the commerce and cooperation settlement (TCA) by 660 votes to 5, with 32 abstentions, the parliament introduced on Wednesday, a day after the vote.
Parliament’s consent brings to an finish over 4 years of acrimonious negotiations and debate as Britain ended 47 years of EU membership, however distrust lingers.
European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen stated she warmly welcomed the vote.
“The TCA marks the muse of a powerful and shut partnership with the UK. Devoted implementation is crucial,” she stated in a tweet.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated this week was the ultimate step in an extended journey, offering stability to Britain’s new relationship with the EU.
“Now’s the time to look ahead to the long run and to constructing a extra world Britain,” he stated in an announcement.
The lawmakers additionally voted massively in favour of an accompanying decision during which they describe Brexit as a “historic mistake”.
The textual content talked of the commerce deal’s restricted scope, with alternatives for Britain’s largely service-based economic system “vastly decreased”.
Lawmakers condemned Britain’s unilateral change in buying and selling preparations in Northern Eire and urged the Fee to press on with its authorized motion.
Additionally they warned the European Union to be vigilant about British motion on taxation, money-laundering and entry for EU fishing boats to its waters.
Britain left the EU on the finish of January 2020, however remained within the EU single market till the beginning of 2021. The deal struck in December ensures zero tariffs and quotas, however provides new checks and paperwork that hinder commerce.
British exports to the EU fell by 47% in January-February and imports by 20%, way over the declines for some other EU buying and selling associate.
EU lawmakers see the commerce deal, together with potential sanctions reminiscent of closing market entry, as a instrument to maintain Britain in verify.
Christophe Hansen, one of many lawmakers answerable for the file, stated the vote ought to be seen extra as an insurance coverage coverage.
“Ratification of the settlement just isn’t a vote of blind confidence within the UK authorities’s intention to implement our agreements in good religion,” he stated. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Elizabeth Piper in London; Enhancing by Giles Elgood)