In the Brexit dispute, the European Union is taking legal action against Great Britain for violating the EU Withdrawal Treaty. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this in Brussels on Thursday.
The background to this is the UK Internal Market Act, passed by the House of Commons on Tuesday, which is intended to undermine parts of the exit agreement already in force. The European Commission had issued an ultimatum to the British government until Wednesday to withdraw the law’s controversial clauses.
Since this did not happen, the Brussels government sent a police report to London that they saw a breach of contract. Von der Leyen gave the British government a month to comment. It is the first step in a process that could eventually end before the European Court of Justice.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Nachrichten aus Berlin, Deutschland und der Welt live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
The Single Market Act – which has yet to be dealt with by the UK House of Lords – would be a violation of the principle of “good faith” enshrined in the treaty and in particular the Northern Ireland protocol, said von der Leyen. . Despite the process that has now started, the EU will continue to push for full compliance with and abide by the exit agreement. “We keep our commitments,” said von der Leyen.
London sees change as a ‘safety net’
The EU had condemned Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans as a breach of trust and a violation of international law. By contrast, the UK government describes it as a “safety net” should a trade deal with the EU fail before the end of the year. She wants to remove contractually agreed special clauses for Northern Ireland.
Under the treaty, the British province will remain more closely linked to the EU internal market and the customs union, requiring controls in freight traffic with the rest of the United Kingdom. London warns that this could disconnect Northern Ireland. However, Johnson accepted this in the Brexit treaty.
Despite the dispute over the Internal Market Act, negotiations are once again underway this week over the trade pact that both sides are aiming for for the post-Brexit transition phase.
Great Britain will also leave the EU internal market and the customs union at the end of this year. Without a follow-up agreement there is a risk of a hard economic break with tariffs and other trade barriers. (dpa)