EU Brexit Fight Intensifies as Parliament Chief Demands MEPs Have Bigger Role

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(AFP) – European Parliament head Martin Schulz demanded Wednesday that the role laid out for MEPs in the Brexit negotiations be beefed up, threatening otherwise to reject any resulting deal. In a letter to EU President Donald Tusk, Schulz criticised draft plans for the process that would relegate the parliament to “a secondary role in… Brexit negotiations.” If MEPs are indeed restricted to a less consequential part in the talks, the lawmakers could reject the final outcome of the negotiations. Doing so would result in “EU treaties simply ceasing to apply to the UK at the end of the two year period,” which is the time limit set for the negotiations. “This would be the very hardest of Brexits and to the detriment of everybody,” he said. His concerns came on the eve of a one-day summit in Brussels that will bring together all the EU leaders including British Prime Minister Theresa May. Schulz added the parliament could also draw up its own arrangements with the EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the British government. “Do you want us to open separate negotiations with the British?,” the parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, asked on Wednesday. The outgoing US envoy to