Brussels announces legal action against the UK

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The European Commission has not waited to announce the start of legal action against the UK for the breach of the obligations of the withdrawal agreement. Just a few hours after the deadline given to London ended – this past September 30 – the president Ursula von der Leyen has announced the formal opening of a infringement procedure after finding that the British Government has not eliminated the problematic elements of the new internal market law that violates the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland included in the ‘Brexit’ divorce agreement.

“We invite our British friends to remove the problematic parts of the draft internal market law by the end of September. This draft violates the good faith obligations collected in the withdrawal agreement. Furthermore, if adopted as is, it will be in complete contradiction to the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland & rdquor ;, von der Leyen said during a short statement without questions from the press on one of the key elements of the divorce agreement for avoid the return of a hard border to the island and protect good friday peace accords 1998.

The president explained that the ultimatum given to London expired last night without the problematic provisions having been eliminated, so “the Commission has decided to send a summons & rdquor; to the Government of Boris Johnson. Its about first step in the infringement procedure against the UK who has now one month to respond to Brussels on a bill that they presented on September 9 and that is still pending. If the explanations do not satisfy the Community Executive, the procedure launched its course and could end before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“Flagrant rape”

According to the Executive, if this law is adopted it will constitute “a flagrant violation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland & rdquor; since it would allow the UK authorities to unilaterally bypass the provisions agreed with the EU, which came into force with the divorce on February 1, in relation to sensitive issues such as state aid and customs controls. The number two of the British Government, Michael Gove, made it clear on Monday to the Vice President of the Commission, Maros Sefcovic, that London will not back down. According to a British government spokesman, London has made its reasons for introducing the measures “clear”. “We need to create a legal network to protect the integrity of the UK’s domestic market, ensure that ministers can always fulfill their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the benefits of the peace process.”

Despite this challenge, von der Leyen explained that the Commission will continue to “work hard” to achieve full and timely implementation of the withdrawal agreement, which means, as European diplomats have been repeating for months, that the EU will not be the one lift off the negotiating table despite British tactics. For now, the decision allows Brussels to buy some time while the negotiations of the future trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, which are going through their ninth round in the community capital this week without much progress having been made regarding the major obstacles that persist: the so-called level playing field (fair competition to avoid tax dumping) and a fishing agreement satisfied. According to the work schedule, the week is expected to conclude with a meeting this Friday between the negotiators of both parties, Michel barnier Y David Frost.

The Brussels announcement also coincides with the presence in Brussels of the 27 EU leaders to participate in a Extraordinary European Council. Although the intention of the president Charles Michel It is not to open a debate. The agenda does include an informative point by Michel and von der Leyen this Friday. The big discussion, however, is expected to be at the summit in mid-October, the month London has set itself to try to close a deal on a commercial relationship. Without that pact once the transition period ends, on December 31, trade relations will be subject to the rules of the World Trade Organization.

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