How has the European Parliament responded to Brexit? Since Article 50 was triggered in March 2017, the Parliament has set up a steering group and developed guidelines designed to react to the challenges facing both the EU and the UK after Britain leaves the European Union. In the end, Parliament will also give the green light to the final agreement.
In March 2017, the long road to Brexit officially began. British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon which sets out the conditions for leaving the European Union. Article 50 clearly stresses the involvement of the European Parliament - any agreement to leave will require Parliament's consent. The Parliament represents the interests of all EU citizens and has been involved from the get-go. Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament's president, highlights these priorities during EU summits and talks with Theresa May. The Parliament also set up a Brexit Steering Group, led by Guy Verhofstadt. As the name suggests, the group guides the Parliament's position on Brexit. It regularly meets with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, and coordinates with parliamentary committees to prepare resolutions that will go up for debate and a vote when the house is in full session. Parliament has adopted several Brexit resolutions since the referendum, including one in April 2017 that set out red lines for negotiations: European nationals living in the UK and UK citizens in the EU should be treated fairly. There should be no hard border in Ireland, and all agreements from the peace process need to be kept. The UK needs to meet its financial obligations to the EU. But that's not all. Colleagues, if you could take your seats please... The Brexit Steering Group and Committees are also studying how the UK's decision to leave may impact Europe. Hearings and enquiries are looking at how Brexit could affect the environment, labour movements, fisheries, aviation and cooperation in research, among many other issues. MEPs are also keeping a close eye on negotiations, especially when it comes to the EU's relationship with the UK in the long-term. Parliament will ensure its guidelines on the future relationship are taken into account. Negotiators hope to reach a withdrawal agreement by autumn 2018, including potential arrangements for a transition period. A political declaration on future relations should also be on the table. The final agreement will need everyone's approval, from MEPs to the Council as well as the UK.