The United Kingdom had been put on formal notice after the European Commission said the country violated the withdrawal agreement it signed in January.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Thursday in Brussels that the U.K.’s proposed International Market Bill “is by its very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down in the withdrawal agreement.” If adopted in its current form, she said, “it will be in full contradiction to the protocol of Ireland-North Ireland.”
Von der Leyen said that the U.K. missed the deadline of Sept. 31 to remove the “problematic provisions” in the proposed legislation.
Press statement by President @vonderleyen on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK.https://t.co/Q1doAKnWFQ
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) October 1, 2020
Earlier this week, U.K. lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s International Market Bill, a controversial piece of legislation that a Cabinet minister admitted would “break international law in a very specific and limited way.”
The International Market Bill would “empower ministers to pass regulations, specifically on trade and state aid, even if they are contrary to the withdrawal agreement previously reached with the EU,” according to the Guardian. The legislature raised concerns that the U.K. would “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” that include Northern Ireland customs and state aid, according to the Financial Times.
The Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement that ensures an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, now the only land border between the U.K. and the EU.
“The commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to the U.K. government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure,” von der Leyen said. The Guardian reported that the infringement procedure is commonly used against EU member states. Last year, the EU opened 800 such cases. On average, a case takes about 35 months to complete.
The letter gives the U.K. one month to respond. Von der Leyen concluded her statement by saying that the commission “will continue to work hard towards a full and timely implementation of the withdrawal agreement. We stand by our commitments.”
Tags: News, Brexit, European Union, United Kingdom
Original Author: Tyler Van Dyke
Original Location: EU begins legal proceedings against UK over Brexit bill