EU Referendum

Reality Check: Can MEPs block David Cameron’s EU deal?

Diane Dodds MEP saying: "This Parliament can unravel the deal, as can the ECJ."

The claim: The European Parliament could block the implementation of the UK deal for the European Union which Prime Minister David Cameron agreed in February 2016.

Reality Check verdict: MEPs will not get a say on the deal as a whole. They could, in theory, delay or even block the amendments to two regulations which are required to implement part of the deal, but this is unlikely to happen.

The UK-EU deal agreed in February 2016 gives the UK power to limit some EU migrants' benefits, exemption from "ever closer union" of the EU, confirmation of the opt-out from the euro and safeguards against discrimination for being outside the eurozone.

If the UK votes to remain in the EU, the deal will become effective on the date the UK Government informs the Secretary-General of the European Council that the country has decided to remain a member. This is likely to take place when David Cameron goes to the next EU summit on 28-29 June in Brussels.

The European Parliament will not get a vote on the deal in its entirety.

However, three provisions of the deal will be enabled only once the relevant EU regulations are amended. One of the amendments, on banking union, does not require the European Parliament's involvement.

The other two will go through the regular legislative procedure at the EU, in which the European Parliament plays a role.

To enable the UK to give new EU migrants full access to in-work benefits only after four years, one of the key measures of the deal, the EU will have to amend Regulation(EU) No 492/2011.

Another key provision of the deal is that child benefit for children who live overseas will now be paid at a rate based on the cost of living in their home country for new EU migrants immediately and existing ones from 2020. That would require an amendment to another regulation.

In both cases, the European Parliament will get a vote on the amendments.

The parliament could vote against the proposals. If this happened they would have to propose their own amendments, which would then go back to the European Council. While the process to find a compromise deal could in theory be further extended by a considerable amount of time, it is unlikely to happen.

The representatives of the two biggest political groups in the European Parliament, which together hold the majority of the seats, as well as the representative of the Liberal group which holds another 70 seats, were all part of the negotiations on the deal for the UK.

The two main political groups are in favour of the deal. This is not to say that all their MEPs like it. Some might rebel and other smaller groups might propose amendments, but those are expected to be rejected by the majority of MEPs and the deal is expected to pass.

The most likely timing for the European Parliament's vote - if Britain votes to remain in the EU on 23 June - is September 2016, when the parliament holds two plenary sessions.


READ MORE: The facts behind claims in the EU debate


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