UK given three weeks to ditch Brexit plan changes
Britain looks headed to a chaotic no-deal split with the European Union.
This is after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government rebuffed an EU request to scrap his plan to re-write the Brexit divorce accord even after the bloc gave him a three-week ultimatum to do so and threatened legal action.
The dispute risks jeopardizing already faltering efforts to secure a trade deal between the two sides by December 31st.
The UK left the EU on 31 January and entered a transition period until the end of the year, with all the rules, regulations and budget payments staying the same.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said in a statement, “The U.K. has not engaged in a reciprocal way on fundamental EU principles and interests”.
“Significant differences remain in areas of essential interest for the EU.”, Barnier added.
Barnier’s view was backed up by his U.K. counterpart, David Frost, who said in a statement that “a number of challenging areas remain and the divergences on some are still significant.”
According to a BBC report, the source of the EU’s concern is PM Johnson’s proposed Internal Market Bill, which was published on Wednesday.
It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol – an element of the withdrawal agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.
The bill proposes no new checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. It gives UK ministers powers to modify or “disapply” rules relating to the movement of goods that will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal.
The publication of the bill prompted emergency talks between UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and Maros Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President.