The tension between European Union and UK reaches maximum levels. Boris Johnson’s announcement that he intends to breach the divorce agreement that he himself signed less than a year ago to complete the brexit -Also in one of its most sensitive points, the protocol to avoid a land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland– has caused unprecedented outrage in Brussels.
In an unusually harsh statement, without diplomatic concessions, the European Commission has demanded that London immediately withdraw the law that violates the Withdrawal Treaty. Otherwise, it threatens to take legal action and even break up the ongoing negotiations for a future trade agreement between the EU and the UK.
The ultimatum of the Community Executive comes after the emergency meeting of the committee in charge of settling disputes between the United Kingdom and the EU that was held this Thursday in London. On the European side, the Vice-President of the Commission, Maros Sefcovicwhile the British Government has been represented by Michael Gove.
During the meeting, the EU has transmitted to the Government of Boris Johnson that the application in time and form of the divorce pact, including the protocol on Ireland of is a “legal obligation”. “Violating the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement would violate international law, undermine trust and could jeopardize ongoing negotiations about future relationship“.
The Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on February 1, 2020 – date of brexit political – and has legal effects in accordance with international law. Since that time, neither the EU nor the UK can unilaterally change, clarify, amend, interpret, ignore or stop applying this agreement, Sefcovic stressed.
Boris puts peace in Ulster at risk
“The European Union does not accept the argument that the objective of the law (presented by the Johnson Government) is to protect the Good Friday Peace Agreement in Ulster. In fact, it considers that what it does is the opposite,” he says the statement released by the European Commission.
If the law is ultimately passed in the British Parliament, this “would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and international law.” That is why Vice President Sefcovic has demanded that the Johnson government “to withdraw this bill as soon as possible and in any case before the end of the month“.
By introducing this law, the British Government “has seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK.” “Now it corresponds to the Government of the United Kingdom to reestablish this confidence”, maintains the community Executive.
Sefcovic has reminded Gove that the Withdrawal Agreement contains a series of legal mechanisms and remedies to deal with violations of the legal obligations contained in the text. “The European Union will not hesitate to use them,” the statement concluded.