The European Union (EU) has announced it has launched legal proceedings against the United Kingdom (UK) after the UK failed to withdraw legislation that would break international law by breaching the Brexit deal both sides signed last year.
The announcement by the EU comes after weeks of controversy since the UK revealed plans to pursue legislation that would override a specific part of the Withdrawal Agreement called the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking in Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, said that the EU had invited the UK to “remove the problematic parts of their draft internal market bill by the end of September.” She said that the draft bill is “by its very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down in the Withdrawal Agreement,” adding that “it will be in full contradiction” of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The deal involving the protocol was reportedly agreed in order to eliminate the need for border checks between the only land border shared by the EU and UK on the island of Ireland.
According to the EU, Border checks could lead to the return of sectarian violence between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The European union has now written a letter of formal notice to the UK government, indicating the first step in an infringement procedure.
“The letter invites the UK government to send its observations within a month and besides this the Commission will continue to work hard towards full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. We stand by our commitments,” von der Leyen concluded.
But the UK government claims that the bill change of a hard border is necessary to ensure seamless trade between the four nations of the United Kingdom in the event of a no deal Brexit at the end of this year .
Trade talks between the EU and UK are going on right now and on October 15, negotiators hope a deal will be ready even though there are disagreements on issues like the UK’s ability to use state aid in order to prop up British businesses, disputes over fishing rights and governance.
The EU has given the UK one month to respond to their legal letter and if no agreement is found between both sides, Brexit might not happen.