Germany’s Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth has called on the UK to scrap the proposed internal market bill that opens the way for the UK to break the terms of the EU withdrawal treaty, according to a Reuters report.
Roth warned that time is running out for reaching an EU-UK trade deal and showed concern that British draft bill would contravene international law. The bill violates the guiding principles of the withdrawal agreement, he asserted, something the EU finds both unacceptable and disappointing.
Negotiations have ground to a halt over EU fishing fleets’ access to UK waters, fair competition between EU and UK companies and agreement on a mechanism for resolving disputes, he said. Even with the current impasse, Roth made it plain that the EU fully supports its chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his team.
UK Minister of State for Northern Ireland Robin Walker pointed out on Monday that London hopes it will not need to use the powers proposed in the draft bill to break the withdrawal agreement. He reiterated his government’s position that the contentious parts of the proposed regulations were a necessary safety net for protecting trade with Northern Ireland and that these powers would be used only if absolutely necessary. Walker noted that Britain would use them only if it deemed the EU was engaged in a material breach of its duties of good faith or other obligations.
The draft bill is expected to pass through the lower chamber of parliament next week, given Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s large majority.
The EU has criticized the draft bill severely, demanding it be withdrawn.
Former Conservative Party leader and Johnson’s predecessor as PM Theresa May has warned that the draft bill jeopardises peace in Northern Ireland and could do severe damage to UK’s reputation. May indicated hat she could not support the bill because iit puts the future of the UK at risk.