German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz recalled on Friday that “the treaties must be respected”, in reaction to the British bill which calls into question some of its Brexit commitments.
“It is clear that everyone must assume what they have already agreed on,” insisted the German minister, speaking upon his arrival at a meeting of European Union (EU) finance ministers. in Berlin and whose country currently holds the EU Presidency. The British text, which London excluded from the withdrawal despite threats of legal action from the European Union (EU), backed down on certain commitments made in the withdrawal agreement signed with Brussels at the start of the year. The issue, which concerns in particular the negotiated protocol to prevent the return of a border to the island of Ireland, further complicates the discussions started since March with a view to reaching an agreement on future relations between the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom. continent. Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe also stressed that respect for treaties was “a prerequisite for any future relationship”.
“The whole negotiating process reminds me a bit of the movie ‘One Endless Day’, where the hero wakes up every morning and lives the same day over and over again,” said Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel. “Whenever progress is made, at some point it is always the UK that does not want to keep its promises,” he said, believing that “at some point the UK side will have to consider how seriously she takes the whole issue. ” .
The UK officially left the EU on January 31, days after signing a withdrawal agreement that sealed the terms of the “divorce”. Since then it has entered a transitional period until December 31, during which it continues to apply EU rules.
During this period, Brussels and London are negotiating an agreement on their future relationship, including trade, with the hope that it can enter into force on January 1, 2021.
The eighth round of negotiations ended Thursday in London without major progress.
France’s Minister of Economy and Finance said on Friday that France rejects any proposal that could jeopardize the European single market, following the British plan that could unilaterally change the Northern Ireland deal.
“We will not accept anything that could compromise the common market, one of the main achievements” of the European Union (EU), assured Bruno Le Maire, who urged the 27 to “remain united” as they have already done. in this file. The Mayor was the most energetic in this regard among the European ministers of economy and finance who, arriving at an informal Eurogroup meeting in Berlin, were questioned by the media on this new turning point in the negotiations ” Brexit ”.
However, all ministers endorsed the content of the French minister’s message when taking a stand on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to reserve the right to amend parts of the Northern Ireland section of the Withdrawal Treaty. UK EU.