January 23, 2021

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The House of Representatives interrupts the Christmas break for the Brexit debate

The House of Representatives interrupts the Christmas break for the Brexit debate


Photo: ANP

On Monday, the House of Representatives will discuss the Brexit agreement with Minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs), which the UK and the European Union reached agreement on Thursday. Prior to this, the MEPs participating in the debate will be informed of the details of the agreement during a technical briefing.

The House of Representatives is urgently needed. This Tuesday, all heads of government of the EU member states will have to announce whether the agreement can be signed on their behalf. Blok wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives on Sunday that he regretted that the agreement between Britain and the EU was reached so late. As a result, there is little time left to prepare for the approval process. The transition period ends on December 31st, and if no agreement has been reached by then, a “no-deal” scenario becomes a reality.

The minister wrote that the current agreement was “the highest possible”, but that the engagement was really more ambitious in the first place. However, the Dutch interests are “well covered”, says Blok.

The fishing industry proved to be a major hurdle. This was difficult to negotiate until the end. Britain has taken a tough line on this, according to Blok. Due to the agreements made, Dutch fishermen are only allowed to fish a quarter less than before in British waters. This is likely to result in hundreds of millions of euros in damage. The Minister understands the disappointment with this in the fish sector.

On Thursday, Blok, like Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade), was satisfied with the agreement reached. The European Parliament also responded with relief, although several MEPs stressed that many details of the 2,000-page document are not yet known. These must therefore be carefully examined before the European Parliament approves them, said Dutch PvdA MEP Kati Piri at the time.