EU Launches Legal Action Against UK for Breaching Divorce Agreement

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen adjusts her facemask ahead of delivering a statement ahead of the first day of a European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 1, 2020. - EU chief Ursula von der Leyen declared October 1, 2020, that Brussels …
JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Thursday that the European Union was launching legal proceedings against the United Kingdom for passing legislation that overrides part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement (WA).

On Wednesday, the House of Commons passed the Internal Market Bill, which allows for the British parliament to overturn parts of the WA. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put forward the bill because he said that the EU had not been negotiating in “good faith” and wanted a legal mechanism to protect the movement of goods within the nation in the event of a no-deal.

Last month, the prime minister feared that under the current terms of the WA a no-deal scenario could give the EU the power divide the United Kingdom, creating a trade barrier down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

On Thursday, the president of the EU’s powerful executive arm said the bloc would launch legal action after the prime minister refused to drop the law, according to The Guardian.

Mrs von der Leyen said: “The problematic provisions have not been removed. Therefore this morning the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to the UK government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure.”

The government has until the end of October to officially respond to the bloc. A British government spokesman said: “We will respond to the letter in due course. We have clearly set out our reasons for introducing the measures related to the Northern Ireland protocol. We need to create a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market, ensure ministers can always deliver on their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the gains from the peace process.”

The newspaper reports that this is the beginning of a lengthy legal process, taking on average three years that could end in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. However, the EU appears very fond of handing out infringement procedures. Last year there were some 800 unresolved cases, with each country having an average of 29 cases against them.

As the Guido Fawkes website reported, EU heavyweights France and Germany have 34 and 47, respectively, with Germany having the third-highest number of cases, behind Italy (49) and Spain (57). The UK already has 33.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has long-warned against signing the Withdrawal Agreement and has called for it to be dropped. Reacting to the report of the EU launching legal proceedings against the UK, Mr Farage said: “The ‘oven-ready deal’ was an international treaty — for the EU Commission, that is like the Bible. Whilst the EU always acts in bad faith, all they are doing today is asking Boris to keep his promises. It should never have been signed in the first place.”

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