As expected, Brussels isn’t thrilled about new draft legislation from UK PM Boris Johnson that would effectively invalidate the hated “Irish Backstop” – as the provision in the withdrawal agreement was known before the treaty was ratified – and in a throwback to the thick of the deal talks from the spring of 2019, the latest news on the Brexit front is being blamed for a turnaround in US stocks.
Following a day of deal talks between the UK and EU in Brussels, Commission VP Maros Sefcovic – the lead representative on the joint committee overseeing the withdrawal agreement – threatened legal action and threatened to cut off talks. In an official statement delivered by Sefcovic, the new legislation introduced by PM Johnson and his allies had “seriously damaged” trust between the EU and UK and that “it would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law”. They demanded that the bill be scrapped by the end of the month “or else”, according to Sky News.
The demand follows an “extraordinary meeting” on Thursday between the EU-UK committee overseeing the deal, led by Sefcovic and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove. Sefcovic also reportedly told Gove the withdrawal agreement was a “legal obligation” and that the EU “expects the letter and spirit of this agreement to be fully respected”. The meeting was called by Brussels.
The so-called “Intermarket Bill” is London’s attempt to “clarify” the withdrawal agreement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the Internal Market Bill by claiming it would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” and ensure there are no barriers to trade inside the UK after the first of the year, when Johnson has insisted the UK will be exiting the transition period no matter what, either with a free trade agreement or based on WTO rules.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.