MEPs threaten to block EU-UK trade deal if London breaches Withdrawal Agreement

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gathered in Brussels for Committee meetings and Plenary Sessions debating the migrants situation’s in Bosnia as well as in Greek islands’ hotspots. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>MEPs threaten to block EU-UK trade deal if London breaches Withdrawal Agreement

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epaselect epa07994911 An image taken with a zoom lens effect shows a general view of the European Parliament’s hemicycle on the second day of a ‘mini-plenary’ session in Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2019. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

An image taken with a zoom lens effect shows a general view of the European Parliament's hemicycle on the second day of a 'mini-plenary' session in Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2019.

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislation will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday, with a late vote expected to follow. A breach of the agreement could lead the EU to take legal action on several grounds against the UK, however, the British government made it “perfectly clear” it would not withdraw the bill. Europe’s lawmakers are threatening to block any trade deal with the UK unless the latter withdraws its plans to override elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and to breach international law in a “very specific and limited way.”
“Should the UK authorities breach – or threaten to breach – the Withdrawal Agreement, through the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in its current form or in any other way, the European Parliament will, under no circumstances, ratify any agreement between the EU and the UK,” the leaders of the political groups of the EU Parliament along with the members of the UK Coordination Group (UKCG) said in a joint statement on Friday. While the talks are only conducted by the Commission, the EU parliament needs to give its nod for any agreement to be enacted. They added that the body “will not accept having its democratic oversight curbed by a last-minute deal beyond the end of October,” also reiterating the Commission’s Vice-President, Maros Sefcovic’ call to the UK government to withdraw these measures from the draft Bill in the shortest time possible, or risk collapse of post-Brexit talks. “Violating the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement would break international law, undermine trust and put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations,” the EU said in a statement after an in-person emergency meeting with UK’s Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove in London last week, adding that it is up to the UK to rebuild this trust.

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