The European Union has initiated a lawsuit against the UK for the attempt of Boris Johnson’s administration to breach the Brexit withdrawal deal. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels stated that Britain tried to modify the Brexit agreement in a manner that breached the “obligation of good faith”.
The main case of litigation is Britain’s attempt to maintain a stronger national border against Ireland. Given that the House of Commons has endorsed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Internal Market Bill” and the House of Lords is currently examining the bill, the EU states that this development breaches Britain’s earlier commitments do away with a hard border against Ireland.
Many EU diplomats and policymakers consider Britain’s impending action a complete contradiction to the original Brexit agreement, and reeks of the antics that Johnson’s administration had been engaging in before and after signing the Brexit agreement less than one year ago. Interestingly, EU analysts believe Johnson is undermining the deal even when it is yet to become fully implemented.
The European Commission has therefore dispatched a “letter of formal notice” to Britain to desist or the matter may head to the European Court of Justice for arbitration. Ursula von der Leyen disclosed that the commission initiated the legal proceedings to curtail Britain after the government dismissed an earlier EU demand to forgo the Internal Market Bill by the end of September.
With the EC’s letter of formal notice, Johnson’s government has one month to respond before the case goes to the international court. And according to a British government spokesperson, “we will respond to the letter in due course.” But pending the action of the government over the issue, Britain and the EU will continue to finalize aspects of the Brexit agreement in areas such as trade, travel, and diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Johnson has vowed that Britain will leave the EU after the expiration of the transition period by the end of the year – with or without any Brexit withdrawal agreement. In fact, many analysts are not so certain whether Johnson actually wants an agreement or not given the COVID-19 situation that has affected the economies of countries on either side of the English Channel.
It is not clear how the British government will respond to the EU on this matter but Northern Ireland remains mum over the issue, watching to see what will happen and the direction the EU and UK are taking the matter.