Brussels: The European Union (EU) is thinking of legal options if the UK breaches the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the controversial Internal Market Bill, which will override some parts of the deal, it was reported.
The remarks were made by Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, after a meeting with UK Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, Euro News said in a report.
“The Withdrawal Agreement is to be implemented, not to be renegotiated, let alone unilaterally changed, disregarded or disapplied,” Sefcovic was quoted as saying to reporters.
“It cannot be stressed enough that the (Ireland/Northern Ireland) Protocol is specifically designed to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement and the achievements of the peace process, including avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland,” he added.
The Good Friday Agreement refers to a pair of deals signed in April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had been ongoing since the 1960s.
Sefcovic further said that the EU has given the UK until the end of the month to withdraw the Internal Market Bill and that it is “considering all legal options available” and will “not be shy” in using them if London fails to do so.
The Internal Market Bill proposed by the Johnson-led government would override that part of that agreement when it came to goods and would allow the UK to modify or re-interpret “state aid” rules on subsidies for firms in Northern Ireland, in the event of the two sides not agreeing a future trade deal.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the bill would provide belt-and-braces protection against extreme interpretations of the Brexit protocol, adding that the law-breaking powers will only be used in extreme circumstances.
Britons lose confidence in UK’s position: Poll
London: A new poll analyzing the UK’s future relationship with the European Union (EU) has found that just 49 per cent of Britons believe that the country is a force for good in the world, down 10 points since April 2019.
The Ipsos MORI poll released recently also found that while 41 per cent of Britons say that the country punched above our weight in world affairs, 38 per cent believed that the UK should stop pretending it is an important power in the world.
Despite this, the public are still more likely to say that Britain should increase its influence around the world than reduce it (by 36 per cent to 16 per cent), while 35 per cent believe it should stay as it is.
According to four people out of 10, Europe still remains Britain’s most important relationship.
But regarding the importance of maintaining a close relationship with the European Union (EU) despite Brexit, only 39 per cent of those surveyed think that was likely, down 13 points since April 2019, the poll showed.