The trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom came into effect on January 1, after nine months of intensive negotiations and a last-minute agreement in December 2020.
The British Parliament has approved the deal, but MEPs have until April 30 to approve or reject it, while tensions over the effects of Brexit on the island of Ireland are mounting. In recent days, fierce fighting has taken place in the British province of Northern Ireland.
At a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, the heads of political groups decided that the committees responsible for international trade and foreign affairs would vote on the agreement, probably on Thursday, European Parliament officials announced.
However, the MEPs pointed out that before the full referendum could be held, they needed to be assured that the UK would respect its Brexit agreement obligations.
Luxembourg MP Christoph Hanson tweeted, “We need progress on the path to implementing the divorce agreement practically and fully.”
Without an agreement with the UK to approve or extend the temporary application further by the end of the month, the trade agreement will no longer be valid.
MPs have expressed outrage that the UK has decided to postpone food restrictions imposed on Northern Ireland until October, saying it represents a unilateral amendment to the agreement.
The EU has since taken legal action against the UK, although officials on both sides are still trying to find a solution.