Insights European Parliament formally approves EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)


On 28 April 2021 the EU Parliament formally consented to the TCA by 660 votes in favour with five against and 32 abstentions. The accompanying resolution, setting out the Parliament’s evaluation and expectations of the deal, passed by 578 votes, with 51 against and 68 abstentions. To minimise disruption, the TCA has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. The EU Parliament’s consent was necessary for the agreement to enter into force permanently before its lapse on 30 April 2021.

In the resolution, the EU Parliament strongly welcomes the conclusion of the TCA, as it limits the negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. But it considers the Brexit decision to be an “historic mistake” as no third country can enjoy the same benefits as an EU member.

The zero quotas and zero tariffs trade agreement between the EU and the UK are viewed positively by MEPs, who say that guarantees on fair competition rules could serve as a model for future trade agreements. MEPs agree with provisions on, amongst others, fisheries, consumers, air traffic and energy, but regret that the UK did not want the agreement to extend to foreign, security and development policies and did not want to participate in the Erasmus+ student exchange programme.

MEPs underlined that the Parliament must play a full role in monitoring how the TCA is applied, including by being involved in unilateral EU actions under the agreement and having its views taken into account. To read the EU Parliament’s press release in full and for links to the adopted texts and to the TCA, click here.