‘Britain does not break treaties’: Von der Leyen quotes Thatcher to condemn UK
Share article:
Share article:

‘Britain does not break treaties’: Von der Leyen quotes Thatcher to condemn UK

Former Prime Minister of the UK, Margaret Thatcher. Credit: Belga

During her State of the European Union speech on Wednesday, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen quoted part of a speech by former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to condemn the UK’s current plans to reverse some of the Brexit agreements.

“This withdrawal agreement took three years to negotiate, and we worked relentlessly on it,” von der Leyen said. “Line by line, word by word. And together, we succeeded.”

The result of that agreement guarantees “our citizens’ rights, financial interests, the integrity of the free market, and crucially, the Good Friday Agreement,” she said. “The EU and the UK jointly agreed it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland, and we will never backtrack on that.”

Von der Leyen stressed that this is a matter of law, trust and good faith, before quoting from a 1975 Thatcher speech: “Britain does not break treaties. It would be bad for Britain, bad for relations with the rest of the world, and bad for any future treaty on trade.”


The Commission President added that Thatcher’s words were true then, and are still true today. “Trust is the foundation of any strong partnership.”

The agreement was ratified by the EU and the UK’s House of Commons and it “cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or misapplied,” she said.

Last week, the British government introduced the controversial “Internal Market Bill“, which would override certain elements of the Withdrawal agreement that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on with the EU.

The law would allow ministers to take measures to ensure the free movement of goods to and from Northern Ireland, despite it being contrary to international law.

The Bill has faced criticism from the EU, with European Council President Charles Michel calling it “not acceptable.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium’s Consultative Committee to meet early this week
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...
More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...