Brussels has given Boris Johnson just three weeks to drop his plans to breach international law or the UK will face financial or trade sanctions.
This comes as EU lawyers ruled that Britain has already breached the withdrawal agreement by tabling the internal market bill. The escalation London has been asking for over the past few days via its new “Internal Market Bill” has arrived. The bill, which seeks to alter the Withdrawal Agreement, would be a breach of international law, as the U.K. government freely admitted and as European Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen summed up in her own hot take. “Pacta sunt servanda = the foundation of prosperous future relations,” she tweeted.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has suggested that the trust between the EU and the UK has been damaged. He made the point in a tweet following the conclusion of this week’s UK-EU trade talks. In a statement, he also said “significant differences remain in areas of essential interest for the EU”.
He went on to say: “The UK is refusing to include indispensable guarantees of fair competition in our future agreement while requesting free access to our market. We have taken note of the UK government’s statement on ‘A new approach to subsidy control’. But this falls significantly short of the commitments made in the political declaration. Similarly, we are still missing important guarantees on non-regression from social, environmental, labour and climate standards.”
London’s tactics amount to “carpet-bombing” with the “clear intention to pave the way toward a no-deal,” one EU source said.