Leading members of the European People’s Party are pushing to set up a joint assembly between the European and British parliaments to maintain “solid relations” after Brexit.
The leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, penned a letter with other senior members of the conservative group on Wednesday to the chamber’s president, David Sassoli, arguing that a joint assembly would be “crucial” going into the next phase of negotiations on future relations.
“As we enter a new stage of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, we believe it is crucial to maintain solid ties between our respective representatives,” states the letter, which was also signed by David McAllister, a German MEP who chairs the foreign affairs committee, which will oversee future relationship negotiations.
“That is why we would hereby propose to consider the opportunity of establishing an EU-UK Joint Parliamentary Assembly, in order to keep solid relations between our MEPs and Westminster.”
The U.K. officially left the EU last Friday, after the European Parliament ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and bid farewell to its British members that same week. Both sides have set out their priorities for the post-Brexit future relationship, which involves a transition period that lasts until the end of this year.
The EPP letter does not go into further detail about how a joint assembly would work, but says it would “play a key role, especially when discussing and defining our future agreement,” and ensure that the transition phase “does not come at the expenses of our peoples.”
“The new assembly would provide the best opportunity to make sure the EU and the UK would remain close partners in the future in the interests of our citizens,” adds the letter, which was also signed by Esteban González Pons and Sandra Kalniete, two vice chairs of the EPP.
But the idea didn’t stir immediate enthusiasm in the EU chamber.
An official close to Sassoli said establishing an assembly “before having an agreement means anticipating what is going to happen a little too much.”