The ultimatum has expired. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Thursday 1er October that the European Union was launching infringement proceedings against the UK government over its controversial bill which partly backs down on the Brexit deal.
“This morning the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to the UK government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure “, announced the German leader. The Europeans had left the UK until the end of September, that is to say Wednesday, to withdraw its text.
The launch of this procedure is announced when British and European negotiators have been meeting in Brussels since Tuesday, for a decisive round of negotiations on their future trade relationship, which is due to end on Friday. A European summit opens in the Belgian capital on Thursday and EU leaders are to be briefed on the state of negotiations with London.
The United Kingdom “Has a period of one month to respond” to the European mail, the Commission said in a press release. “After examining its observations or in the absence of observations, the Commission may, if it deems it appropriate, decide to issue a reasoned opinion”, she adds. The procedure can go to the European Court of Justice.
“A breach of the obligation of good faith”
The bill in question, approved by British MPs on Tuesday and which still has to be considered by the Lords in the coming weeks, calls into question certain commitments made by the United Kingdom in the agreement governing its departure from the EU January 31.
He revisits arrangements for the British province of Northern Ireland, planned to prevent the return of a border with the Republic of Ireland, a safeguard deemed essential to the maintenance of peace on the island.
“This bill is, by its very nature, a violation of the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. Moreover, if adopted as is, it will be in complete contradiction with the protocol for Ireland and Northern Ireland “, underlined Mme von der Leyen in his short speech.
For the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the aim of the project is to defend the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom by ensuring the continuity of trade between Great Britain and the province of Northern Ireland.
The UK officially left the EU on January 31, but continues to apply EU rules until December 31, a transition period during which London and Brussels hope to agree on a trade deal governing their future relationship. .
Brexit: what is Boris Johnson playing?
“We must prevent the UK from sabotaging the European project,” by Philippe Van Parijs, professor at the University of Louvain, Hoover Chair in Economic and Social Ethics.
“The British state remains unquestionably a European-type state”, by Anand Menon, professor of European policy and foreign affairs at King’s College London, and Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public policies at King’s College London, member of UK in a Changing Europe.
“London sees Brexit as a way to revive the UK economy without Brussels getting in the way,” by Jill Rutter, researcher at UK in a Changing Europe.
“Boris Johnson thinks he has more to gain from a ‘no deal’ than from an agreement with the EU”, by Stéphane Madaule, professor at Inseec / HEIP Business School