UK has ‘seriously damaged trust’ over Internal Market Bill, EU says
Thursday, 10 September 2020
The United Kingdom has broken Europe’s trust over its Internal Market Bill, which would violate certain principles of the withdrawal agreement that came into force with Brexit at the beginning of the year.
London has been asked by the Commission to amend its draft immediately. “Neither the EU nor the UK can unilaterally change, clarify, amend, interpret, disregard or disapply the agreement,” the Commission said at the end of the meeting, which took place in London.
Commissioner Maros Sefcovic, who represents the Commission in the joint committee, reiterated that if the British government’s plan were to pass, “it would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law.”
The EU does not accept the British argument that these surprise changes are intended to protect the Good Friday agreement that ended the conflict in Northern Ireland. “In fact, it is of the view that it does the opposite,” the commission said.
Specifically, the commissioner called on the government to remove from the bill those elements that contradict the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU and the associated protocol on Northern Ireland, “in the shortest time possible and in any case by the end of the month.”
The United Kingdom has “seriously damaged trust” between London and Brussels, concluded the statement sent by the Commission, which clarified that it “will not be shy” in using the mechanisms provided for in the withdrawal agreement in the event of a breach of its obligations by one of the parties.