The European Parliament on December 13 called on Brussels to proceed with the next phase of Brexit negotiations. The MEPs backed a motion that recognised the talks had advanced sufficiently.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, European Union leaders are almost certain to judge that “sufficient progress” has been made on the rights of citizens, the Brexit divorce bill and the Irish border to allow negotiations to move to the next phase. Last week, the European Commission recommended that leaders approve the start of trade talks.

The European Parliament will have to approve any Brexit deal, although its motion on December 13, backed by 556 votes for to 62 against, was not binding.

In a statement, the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said the resolution they adopted is an important step forward and will allow us to move to the second phase.

“I want to congratulate our negotiator Michel Barnier for this achievement and underline that the twenty-seven member states and three institutions have displayed unity, transparency and sense of purpose in this delicate first stage,” said Tajani. “I would also like to thank the Prime Minister for her constructive approach in securing last week’s agreement.

“While I am optimistic as far as the second phase is concerned, we have to ensure that the joint report presented last week is fully and faithfully translated into the wording of the Exit Treaty,” he added. “No discussions on future relations will take place if the principles contained are not implemented.”

According to Tajani, achieving “sufficient progress” does not mean that all problems have been solved either.

“The resolution passed today details our latest concerns. We will closely follow, in particular, issues concerning citizens’ rights – including the administrative procedure established in the UK to protect their special status – and the solution proposed for the Northern Ireland issue.”