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EU parliament backs negotiator in Brexit trade talks

February 12, 2020 GMT
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, talks to to European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a debate on a proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, Feb.11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, talks to to European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a debate on a proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, Feb.11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers threw their weight Wednesday behind the negotiating package the 27-nation bloc’s chief negotiator wants to use during upcoming trade talks with former EU member Britain.

The European Parliament adopted a text embracing the key positions of negotiator Michel Barnier with a 543-39 vote that included 69 abstentions.

The remaining EU member nations are still going over Barnier’s proposals for a post-Brexit trade relationship with the U.K. but are expected to back them when European affairs ministers meet in in Brussels on Feb. 25.

Right up to Britain’s Jan. 31 exit from the EU, the remaining member nations closely aligned their views during the drawn out withdrawal negotiations. The challenge now is to keep them united during the post-Brexit trade negotiations, which are to last through the rest of the year.