At issue is a proposal for a law on the Internal Market in the United Kingdom published on Wednesday, against which the European Commission threatened legal action, warning that “violation of the terms of the withdrawal agreement would violate international law, undermine confidence and would jeopardize future ongoing negotiations on relations ”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the British to support their government in defending the bill that annuls parts of the United Kingdom’s exit agreement from the European Union (EU) this Saturday. “We are going to get the EU to take the threats off the table and we are going to get this bill through, supporting our negotiators and protecting our country,” wrote the politician on his Twitter account.
Let’s make the EU take their threats off the table.
And let’s get this Bill through, back up our negotiators, and protect our country 🇬🇧
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 12, 2020
The message was shared with an opinion piece by the British ruler, published today in the Daily Telegraph. In it, Boris Johnson assumed he wanted to annul parts of the agreement, justifying the claim with a threat from Brussels. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom assured that the EU threatened to move forward with a “food block” to Northern Ireland, which would jeopardize “peace and unity” in the United Kingdom.
Despite admitting that the British government’s claims violate international law, Boris Johnson argues that he was forced by circumstances to take an extreme position. “Unless we accept the conditions of the EU, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to impose a complete trade border along the Irish Sea,” he wrote.
“We are told that the European Union does not only impose customs duties on the transport of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland but that it could block the transport of food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland,” he stressed.
Johnson recalled that the exit agreement and the Ireland Protocol were negotiated in good faith and therefore regrets that Brussels uses them “to establish a blockade in part of the United Kingdom”, threatening “to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom ”.
“We cannot let the theoretical power divide our country in the hands of an international organization”, he stressed.
Johnson, therefore, regretted that the EU interpretation put “peace and stability” at risk in the United Kingdom, which “has been bloodied for three decades” until the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998.
At issue is a proposal for a law on the Internal Market in the United Kingdom published on Wednesday, against which the European Commission threatened legal action, warning that “violation of the terms of the exit agreement would violate international law, undermine confidence and would jeopardize future ongoing negotiations on relations ”.
Now, the proposed Internal Market law contradicts parts of the Brexit agreement, by preventing the application of EU law in the event that negotiations for a post-Brexit trade agreement between London and Brussels fail on issues such as declarations of export, state support, and customs controls with respect to Northern Ireland.
The withdrawal agreement and also the Northern Ireland Protocol was drafted, precisely with the aim of protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland, avoiding the need for a physical border between British territory and EU member Ireland. Therefore, any customs control would have to be done between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, which are separated by the Irish Sea.