pcloudy.png
Thursday October 22nd, 2020 11:28AM

UK lawmakers vote on Brexit bill; EU warns of choppy waters

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Britain is set to pass a major milestone on the road to Brexit Thursday, when the bill authorizing the country’s departure from the European Union receives final approval from the House of Commons.

Lawmakers are set to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, and the comfortable majority won in last month’s election by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives means it is certain to pass, despite the opposition of smaller parties. After passing through Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, the bill should become law in time for the U.K. to leave the EU on the scheduled date of Jan. 31. It will be the first nation to ever leave the bloc, which currently has 28 members.

Thursday's vote will be a major victory for Johnson. Before the Dec. 12 election, lawmakers repeatedly defeated attempts by both Johnson and predecessor Theresa May to secure backing for their Brexit blueprints.

But despite Johnson’s repeated promise to “get Brexit done” on Jan. 31, the departure will only mark the start of the first stage of the country's EU exit. Britain and the EU will then launch into negotiations on their future relationship.

"Leaving the EU doesn't mean that we will have got Brexit done,” said Paul Blomfield, a Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party. “We'll have completed the first step, departure, but the difficult stage is yet to come."

Top officials in the bloc are already saying that sealing a new deal will be tough.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said Thursday that Britain's goal of striking a full free trade agreement by the end-of-year deadline that Johnson insists on was unrealistic.

“We cannot expect to agree on every aspect of this new partnership,” Barnier said, adding “we are ready to do our best in the 11 months.”

International trade agreements typically take years to complete, but Johnson has ruled out extending a post-Brexit transition period agreed by the two sides beyond the end of 2020, although the EU has offered to prolong it until 2022. That has set off alarm bells among U.K. businesses, which fear Britain could face a “no-deal” Brexit at the start of 2021.

Britain and the EU will have to strike deals on everything from trade in goods and services to fishing, aviation, medicines and security. The EU insists there is no way to deal with all these issues in less than a year. British officials have suggested they could carve the negotiations up into chunks, sealing deals one sector at a time.

The two sides also have conflicting demands that are likely to complicate negotiations.

Johnson says the U.K. is seeking a wide-ranging free trade deal with the bloc, but doesn't want to agree to keep all EU rules and standards. It wants to be free to diverge in order to strike new trade deals around the world.

The EU says the U.K. won’t get good access to its market unless it agrees to alignment. EU officials worry that Britain plans to cut environmental and employment standards in order to position itself as a low-regulation, low-tax competitor to the bloc.

The bloc has stressed the need for a level playing field in the upcoming trade negotiations, meaning that access to the EU market will be linked to U.K. commitments to standards in area including workers’ rights and the environment.

On Thursday, Barnier added that if Britain wants as much access as possible to the bloc's market, it won't have unfettered freedom to subsidize its industry. He said state aid rules in any future trade deal would be more stringent than with nations like Canada or Japan, simply because of the physical proximity of the departing EU nation.

“We will ask necessarily certain conditions on state aid policy in the U.K.," Barnier said.

“If the U.K. wants an open link with us for the products — zero tariffs, zero quotas — we need to be careful about zero dumping at the same time," he told a conference in Stockholm.

As a member state, Britain was bound by strict state aid rules enforced by the powerful European Commission to make sure there is no unfair competition among nations inside the EU’s vast single market. Third countries aren't immediately bound by such strictures.

___

Raf Casert reported from Brussels.

___

Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Uproar in UK over Harry and Meghan's step back from royals
Britain's royal family is scrambling to contain the fallout from the surprise announcement by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan that they intend to step back from royal duties
9:39AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Nationwide protest in France over pensions as talks continue
Rail workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and others have joined a nationwide day of protests and strikes to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron's plans to overhaul the pension system
9:31AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Analysis: Trump changes terms of 2020 race with Iran turmoil
The yearslong focus on President Donald Trump's performance on the economy, health care and immigration has been overtaken by an urgent debate over foreign policy and war
9:30AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
House to vote on restraining Trump’s actions against Iran
Vice President Mike Pence is responding to congressional criticism that the Trump administration didn't provide enough evidence with Congress to justify killing a top Iran general
8:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
McConnell, Pelosi stand firm as impeachment remains frozen
The ongoing standoff over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is turning into a test of wills for Democratic and Republican congressional leaders
8:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
European legal experts eye Poland's new law limiting judges
Law experts are holding talks in Poland on a controversial draft law that would give politicians the power to fire or fine judges in defiance of Europe's principle of judicial independence
8:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Newly empowered Virginia Democrats promise action
An increasingly diverse Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday, led for the first time in more than two decades by Democrats who are promising to enact a litany of changes
8:31PM ( 13 hours ago )
Mississippi moms question state as they bury slain inmates
The mothers of three Mississippi inmates want to know how and why their sons were killed in prison violence
7:29PM ( 14 hours ago )
How tensions with Iran could reshape Democratic primary
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran may force foreign policy into the Democratic presidential primary's spotlight
6:57PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Lebanon issues travel ban for fugitive ex-Nissan chief Ghosn
A Lebanese official says prosecutors have issued a travel ban for fugitive ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn and asked him to hand in his French passport, following an interrogation about an Interpol-issued red notice on him
8:59AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Global stocks, oil prices stabilize as Iran anxiety eases
Global stock markets and oil prices are up slightly as anxiety over potential U.S.-Iranian armed conflict eased
7:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Thursday, January 9th with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
7:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Global stocks, oil prices rebound as Iran anxiety eases
Global stock markets and oil prices have rebounded as anxiety over potential U.S.-Iranian conflict eased
4:20AM ( 5 hours ago )
Soaring pork prices keep China's inflation at 7-year high
Soaring pork prices that nearly doubled in December kept China's inflation at a seven-year high despite government efforts to ease meat shortages caused by a disease outbreak
12:36AM ( 9 hours ago )
World Bank sees modest global 2020 rebound but trade a risk
The World Bank says the global economy should see a modest rebound in growth this year
5:14PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Nationwide protest in France over pensions as talks continue
Rail workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and others have joined a nationwide day of protests and strikes to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron's plans to overhaul the pension system
9:31AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Analysis: Trump changes terms of 2020 race with Iran turmoil
The yearslong focus on President Donald Trump's performance on the economy, health care and immigration has been overtaken by an urgent debate over foreign policy and war
9:30AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Pence says Trump to ask European allies to scrap Iran deal
Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump will ask allies to scrap the Iran nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration
9:16AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Iran says Ukrainian plane was on fire, tried to turn back
Iranian investigators say the crew of the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed outside Tehran the previous day never made a radio call for help and was trying to turn back to the airport when the burning plane went down
9:10AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Fugitive Ghosn brings global attention to Japanese justice
Though former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is unlikely to stand trial in a real court, he has made himself a key witness in putting Japan's justice system on trial
9:10AM ( 32 minutes ago )