MEP voted against Brexit deal as trade pact does not free UK from clutches of Brussels

Brexit may 'ignite true reform' in the EU says MEP

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Hynek Blasko, a former general in the Czech army, said that the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not move Europe towards a continent of “independent nations that can trade with each other”. He was one of five MEPs to oppose the post-Brexit future relationship in a vote to ratify the agreement. Speaking to, Mr Blasko said he does not oppose the concept of Brexit but believes the terms Britain signed up to with Brussels do not create a continent of free-trading states.

He said: “Firstly, let me say I do not consider Brexit a wrong step. The EU suffers from a great democratic deficit that cannot be removed and neither there is a will to remove it. 

“This agreement does not move the UK and European states towards a continent of free and independent nations that can trade with each other in peace and without any barriers.”

The Czech MEP, a member of the eurosceptic Freedom and Direct Democracy party, said he would have endorsed a deal that makes Europe a genuine free-trading bloc of countries.

“The current political settlement of Europe does not work,” he said.

“Centralisation strengthens every month, more and more powers are taken from the states to the EU.

“I would support an agreement that would only grant free-trade, academic and scientific cooperation, student and cultural exchanges, without any form of central governance.”

Mr Blasko used his opposition to the Brexit trade pact to call for a new deal for Europe.

He insisted it must be “without conditions, without obligations to pay into EU budgets, without harmful subsidies and state inference into people’s lives.”

The former general added: “Europe needs a real alternative to the current system.”

Almost four months after the historic future relationship treaty was struck on Christmas Eve, MEPs backed down from their threat to veto the agreement and overwhelmingly supported it.

Some 660 endorsed the tariff and quota-free deal on goods, with just five voting against it.

There were 32 abstentions.

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In a final moment of sabre-rattling, MEPs also backed a resolution on the trade agreement branding Brexit a “historic mistake”.

The non-binding resolution adds: “It is a logical consequence of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and in particular the ending of freedom of movement, that the opportunities for the UK’s largely service-based economy are vastly reduced.”

It also called for the European Commission to pursue legal action against Britain over alleged breaches of the Northern Ireland Protocol “with vigour”.

Stubborn MEPs had previously refused to rubber-stamp the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement amid the row over customs controls between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

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They repeatedly snubbed setting a date for a final vote in the European Parliament despite the agreement having sailed through the UK Parliament in December.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I warmly welcome the European Parliament’s vote in favour of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“The TCA marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK – faithful implementation is essential.”

Michel Barnier, her former chief negotiator, added: “Big green light from the European Parliament for the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement!

“It is the EU and UK’s joint responsibility now to ensure that their respective commitments are respected – today and in the future.”

European Council President Charles Michel said the vote was a “major step forward” in UK-EU relations.

He added: “The EU will continue to work constructively with the UK as an important friend and partner.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the vote as the next step in Britain’s future as an independent nation.

He said: “This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.

“Now is the time to look forward to the future and to building a more Global Britain.”

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