The European Parliament, seen here in plenary session last October, may recommend the EU negotiate a post-Brexit 'association agreement' with the UK.
Photo: Fred Marvaux/EP
The EU and Luxembourg in the headlines
Brexit flexibility; Corbyn for customs union; demand to join Schengen--headlines from Europe and Luxembourg
EP: flexibility on single market access
Business Insider reports that the European Parliament is “preparing a "detailed," 60-paragraph resolution” calling for the EU to negotiate an 'association agreement' with the UK post-Brexit. This could grant Britain flexibility on its single market access and membership of some EU agencies. The report suggests that the resolution could be pit before the parliament’s Brexit steering committee in early March and presented to MEPs later that month. The deal differs greatly from the position of chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his team, which has suggested that only a Canada-style free trade deal would be possible after British prime minister Theresa May announced her red lines for negotiation. The pound climbed 0.5% against the euro in response to the Business Insider report.
Corbyn supports customs union
Britain’s leader of the opposition in parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, has said that said some form of continued customs union would be imperative after Brexit. Speaking at a meeting of the EEF manufacturers’ organization, the Labour leader said: “We have to have a customs union that makes sure we can continue that trade, particularly between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That is key to it.” Corbyn, who has been criticised by some Labour members and supporters for not taking a clearer stance on the UK staying in the single market, seems to have softened his party’s policy. He said that Labour is “determined to achieve is a tariff-free trade relationship with Europe” but added that this would not mean “deregulation of our economy”.
Bulgaria and Romania renew Schengen demands
In an interview with German daily newspaper Die Welt, Bulgaria's foreign affairs minister, Ekaterina Zaharieva renewed demands that Bulgaria and Romania be admitted to the Schengen Area by the end of the year. Both countries have long been arguing that they should be part of the “border free” zone, but their demands have been met with opposition, especially from certain politicians in France and Germany, despite the European Commission saying that they fulfill the technical requirements. Bulgaria currently holds the presidency of the European Council.