EU deal: Why is the EU delaying ratifying Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal?

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is ‘awful’ says June Mummery

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The UK has agreed to allow to European Union to delay ratification of a post-Brexit trade deal. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove announced the extension on Tuesday after Brussels requested the delay, pushing back the ratification by a number of months. In a letter to the EU Commission on Tuesday, Mr Gove said he expects the bloc “should be able to satisfy its internal requirements” by the end of April.

He added the UK “would therefore not be asked to further extend the period of provisional application.”

Under the terms of the treaty agreed by both sides prior to 2021, both sides needed to ratify the deal by the end of February, when its provisional application is due to expire.

But the EU Commission said on February 10 that it would seek a “technical” two month extension.

At the time, Lord David Frost, who led the negotiations with Brussels in 2020, described the request as “a little disappointing” and “a little surprising that EU wish to change it quite so soon.”

He said the EU was struggling with the bloc getting used to an “independent actor in its neighbourhood”.

A spokesperson for the Government said: “Today we have agreed to extend the deadline for the EU to ratify the deal until 30 April.

“It is disappointing the EU has not completed its internal processes in the agreed timeframe, given the uncertainty it creates for businesses and individuals on both sides.

“We expect the EU to meet the new timeline.”

The deal was signed on December 24, just days before Britain exited the EU single market and customs union.

The EU Commissioner in charge of overseeing the Brexit deal implementation Maros Sefcovic, said: “We are now 10 weeks into the reality of our new relationship with the United Kingdom.

“We have already seen some of the changes brought about by this.

“I think it is clear to everyone now that our partnership with the UK does not replicate or resemble its former membership of the European Union.”

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Why has Brussels requested the delay?

The process is currently held up because the European Council and Commission are still translating the 1,246-page treaty into the EU’s 24 official languages.

The Commission said extension to April 30 was necessary “to allow the time needed for the completion of the legal-linguistic revision of the Agreement in all 24 languages for its scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council.”

The agreement on trade, security and fisheries was signed on December 24.

The deal has been applied provisionally since then to give the European Parliament until the end of February to scrutinise it.

The UK Parliament has already ratified the deal.

Ratification is the act of approving, signing and adopting an international treaty.

Further talks on the deal are to go ahead on Wednesday, February 24 between Lord Frost and Mr Sefcovic.

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