EU to vote on trade deal ratification

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The European Parliament will this week vote on the post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and EU and are expected to back the trade and cooperation agreement. 

This final step in the trade deal’s approval is likely to be confirmed this Tuesday (27th April), close to its own end of April deadline to conclude the new relationship with the UK. Failure to vote through the deal could have left Britain and the European Union trading with tariffs and quotas. 

This final step had been under some threat over the last few months as relations between the British government and EU lawmakers frayed over Covid vaccine supplies and the unilateral suspension of elements of the Northern Ireland protocol. 

However, the EU’s foreign affairs and trade committees voted overwhelmingly in favour of the agreement last week, allowing for its expected ratification tomorrow. 

Ratification should bring to a relative conclusion almost five years of political and business turmoil, starting with the referendum result in June 2016. 

Key steps along the way, as provided by the Institute of Export & Internation Trade, shows the extent of the fallout from that day to this:

23 June 2016 – UK votes to leave the EU

29 March 2017 – Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 to begin two year countdown to leaving

2019

14 March – UK government seeks permission from the EU to extend Article 50 and agree a later Brexit date

20 March –PM Theresa May writes to European Council President Donald Tusk, asking to extend Article 50 until 30 June 2019

2 April –  PM announced she will seek a further extension to the Article 50 process

10 April –  UK and EU27 agree to extend Article 50 until 31 October 2019

24 May – Theresa May resigns as PM

24 July – Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister after winning Conservative leadership contest

19 October – Johnson’s new Brexit deal is beaten in the Commons

28 October – EU Ambassadors agreed a further Brexit extension to 31 January 2020

12 December – Johnson wins UK General Election and says he will ‘get Brexit done’ by 31 January 2020

2020

23 January – the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 receives Royal Assent

11pm, 31 January – the UK formally leaves the EU and enters a transition period

30 December – EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is signed, with UK parliament ratifying it that day

11pm, 31 December – Transition period ends and the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union 

2021

3 March – UK unilaterally extends grace period for supermarket agri-food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from April 1 to October 1

EU says UK grace period extension breaches international law

9 March – UK exporters urge Lord Frost to cool trade tensions with Brussels

15 March – European Commission sends UK a formal notice of legal action for breach of its obligations under the NI Protocol

14 April – EU parliament again refuses to set date for ratifying Brexit trade deal amid concerns over UK conduct

27 April – European Parliament due to ratify TCA deal

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