Puzzle with printed EU and UK flags is seen in this illustration taken November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Lawmakers of the European Union (EU) on Monday demanded to be involved in the implementation and monitoring of the trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom (UK).

At their first discussion of the EU-UK trade deal, concluded on Dec. 24, the MEPs sitting on the International Trade Committee welcomed that the deal had avoided a no-deal scenario which would have spelt disaster for citizens and companies.

MEPs welcomed, in particular, the inclusion of standards in environmental protection, climate change, labor, and the prohibition of data localization.

Most participants insisted that democratically elected institutions like the European Parliament should also have a role in the selection of arbitration panel members.

Geert Bourgeois from Belgium emphasized the future role of an interparliamentary body in maintaining dialogue, while Helmut Scholz from Germany called for a role of trade unions and NGOs in the arbitration of fair competition violations.

The EU-UK trade agreement has been provisionally applied since Jan. 1, 2021. For it to enter into force permanently, it needs the consent of the EU Parliament.

Several trade MEPs pledged to scrutinize the agreement thoroughly including its “loose ends” instead of mere rubber-stamping. The trade committee will discuss the agreement together with the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

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