Senior MEPs today called on European capitals to publish plans for so-called “provisional application” of the Brexit trade pact by midnight on Wednesday. But frustrated diplomats insisted they would not play ball with MEPs intent on hindering the ratification process if negotiators manage to broker a post-Brexit agreement with the UK. MEPs also set a deadline for the European Council to publish plans to provisionally apply any Brexit trade agreement by midnight on Wednesday.
This would allow UK and EU officials to continue negotiating up until December 30 before EU capitals sign off on the pact by email on New Year’s Eve.
The European Parliament would then hold a special session next year to finally give consent to any Brexit trade pact.
But Brussels sources insisted the latest demands by MEPs would likely be ignored.
One said: “We don’t have a deadline. Ratification is no longer possible so why impose artificial deadlines?
“With written procedure we can do a deal as late as December 30.”
MEPs also risked infuriating Britain by asking EU lawyers to draw up plans for extending the transition period after negotiators missed the European Parliament’s deadline for a trade deal.
According to a source at the meeting, they insisted the European Parliament must have a “decisive say whatever the outcome of the talks”.
But British officials instantly rejected the latest plans hatched in Brussels, insisting the country will break free from the EU at the end of the year.
Under the blueprint, MEPs told officials to explore the possibility of drawing up a brand new treaty to create a legal basis for “extending the transition period”.
The Parliament’s Brexit committee proposed keeping Britain inside the EU’s single market and customs union for up to three months while MEPs ratified any trade agreement.
One insider said: “Any new arrangement would need unanimity from EU member states and officials are groping at various ideas for a legal basis.”
Hardline European capitals would likely insist on Britain contributing billions of pounds to the EU’s financial coffers during the standstill period.
MUST READ: Brexit: Johnson could let EU take ‘retaliatory action’ against UK
“It would bind us into future EU legislation, without us having any say in designing it, but still having to foot the bill.
“We need to avoid endless prolonged negotiations stretching into next year and provide certainty to our citizens and businesses as soon as possible.”
EU diplomats have also cast doubts over the proposal, warning talks would likely remain deadlocked until the next deadline.
One insider said an extension is “possible” but “you would just end in the same place in March”.