Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
EU launches legal action against UK over Brexit law
The Internal Market Bill would allow London to unilaterally alter provisions in the withdrawal treaty signed last year.
Updated 10/1/20, 12:56 PM CET
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that the EU would begin legal proceedings to prevent the U.K. from trying to use domestic legislation to change aspects of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Calling the Internal Market Bill a “breach of the obligation of good faith,” von der Leyen said the Commission would send a notification letter to the U.K. initiating the EU’s infringement process by which it seeks to enforce legal obligations.
The bill, approved by the House of Commons this week, would allow London to unilaterally alter provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement, which Brussels insists has the legal force of an international treaty and cannot be changed.
“We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft Internal Market Bill by the end of September,” von der Leyen said. “The deadline lapsed yesterday. The problematic provisions have not been removed, therefore this morning, the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to the U.K. government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure.”
In a pointed dig, von der Leyen said that the EU would uphold its side of accord. “Besides this the Commission will continue to work hard towards a full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.