Updated: September 10, 2020 7:42:05 pm
As Britain pushes ahead with its highly controversial plan to alter the Brexit deal it brokered with the European Union last year, EU diplomats and officials have said they are considering taking legal action against the country for violating international law by breaching the agreement, Reuters reported.
An emergency meeting between Britain and the European Union to discuss Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans is slated to take place on Thursday. Senior EU official Maros Sefcovic said that the bloc has “serious concerns” about the UK’s plans to override parts of the Brexit divorce deal, a BBC report stated.
Minutes after the UK government published the ‘Internal Markets Bill’, which allegedly negated parts of last year’s withdrawal agreement, European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday condemned the act and accused PM Johnson of breaking international law and undermining the EU’s trust.
The bill allegedly negates the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was an element of last year’s divorce agreement that deals with the movement of goods in and out of the territory of Northern Ireland. The protocol states that EU trade laws will continue to apply in Northern Ireland after Britain leaves the European Union. However, the UK government’s new bill overrides some of these clauses.
PM Johnson on Wednesday urged British MPs to support the internal market bill and assured them that the bill would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” when the Brexit transition period ends, BBC reported.
Here are the top developments on the Brexit crisis
US’ Pelosi: No chance of US-UK trade deal if Brexit violates divorce deal
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said that the UK’s plans to go against its divorce treaty with the EU could imperil any future trade agreements between Britain and the United States, Reuters reported.
“If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be proudly defended in the United States Congress,” she added. The Good Friday Agreement, also known as the Belfast Agreement, ended the political crisis in Northern Ireland in 1998.
EU, UK meet for emergency meeting on lawbreaking Brexit plan
Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, rushed to London on Thursday to meet with UK officials for an emergency meeting to discuss Britain’s plans to violate parts of the historic withdrawal agreement, AP reported.
“The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and we expect that the letter and the spirit of the withdrawal agreement will be fully respected,” Sefcovic said.
A meeting has been hastily scheduled between Sefcovic and Britain’s Brexit preparation minister Michael Gove, the AP report stated. The two men are in charge of a joint-committee which looks into post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland.
Ex-British PM Major warns UK Brexit plan may damage its reputation internationally
Former British Prime Minister John Major condemned PM Johnson’s decision to publish the Internal Markets Bill and undermine aspects of its withdrawal agreement. Major said that the move would breach international law and could damage the countries’ global reputation, Reuters reported.
“Over the last century, as our military strength has dwindled, our word has retained its power,” he said. “If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.”
(With inputs from Reuters, BBC)
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