Politics

EU mask slips with new ‘damaging’ legal challenge as bloc ‘reveals its true colours’

Brexit: Maroš Šefčovič slams ‘illegal’ bill

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EU Commission vice-President Maros Sefcovic said Boris Johnson’s actions to unilaterally override elements of the Brexit deal are “illegal” before announcing the new move. The EU said the moves set out by the UK Government had set out to “unilaterally break international law”. Mr Sefcovic said: “Let there be no doubt: there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement. Opening the door to unilaterally changing an international agreement is a breach of international law as well. So let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal.”

Brexiteer Ben Habib hit back at the bloc saying it will only cause the British public to turn against the EU.

The former MEP said: “The EU is merely damaging itself by behaving in this way. I am delighted that they are revealing their true colours, because the British people will rise up against them. It emboldens the Government, to say well ok if you are going to be bloody-minded about this then we will become bloody-minded and be firmer in our stance. To hell with negotiations”.

The Brexit Party member characterised the move as “so EU” by “punishing the UK”.

“What the Prime Minister is seeking to do, I don’t think he quite achieves it, is to bring Northern Ireland back into the United Kingdom, that is not just our right but our obligation. And the people in the United Kingdom will see that and support it. The EU is damaging itself by acting in this way. I am delighted they are revealing their true colours.”

He added that the UK is “headed into a battle with the EU”.

Mr Johnson’s government has defended the controversial new move.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has argued the new legislation would not scrap the deal but make limited changes, such as freeing the movement of UK-made goods from “unnecessary bureaucracy” and regulatory barriers.

Britain is disappointed with the European Union’s move to launch two new legal proceedings against it and will review the documents carefully before responding, a spokesman for Mr Johnson said.

“We will review these documents carefully and respond formally in due course, however, we are disappointed that the EU has taken this legal action today,” he told reporters.

He added: “The EU’s proposed approach, which doesn’t differ from what they’ve said previously, would increase burdens on businesses and citizens and take us backwards from where we are currently.”

Mr Sefocovic also confirmed that existing infringement proceedings which had been paused while UK-EU talks took place would now be resumed.

Asked about potential further action against the UK, he told reporters in Brussels: “If this draft Bill becomes the law then I cannot exclude anything.

“But we are not there yet and we want to solve this issue as the two partners should, through negotiations, looking for the common ground and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland.”

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