Britain misses legal deadline in Brexit-infringement case, EU says

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Brussels, Nov. 3, 2020 (dpa/Naija247news) Britain has missed a one-month deadline to respond to a European Commission warning concerning its alleged breach of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, a commission spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The commission is now considering taking the legal action to the next level following Britain’s failure to meet the deadline.

At the beginning of October, the commission launched legal action against Britain over its new Internal Market Bill by sending a letter of formal notice to the British Government.

The Internal Market Bill gives Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the power to override a provision in the withdrawal agreement that would impose different post-Brexit customs rules on Northern Ireland than the rest of the United Kingdom.

The EU argues that this goes against the terms of their withdrawal agreement, signed earlier this year, whereas Britain claims that the bill is necessary to protect the integrity of its internal market.

Commission spokesperson, Daniel Ferrie, said the European Union had not received a response yet.

“Therefore we are considering next steps, including issuing a reasoned opinion,’’ he said.

This comes amid intensified negotiations between EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his counterpart David Frost, that will take place this week in Brussels.

At the launch of the infringement procedure, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, had said that the bill was by its very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down by the withdrawal agreement.

The infringement process can ultimately result in the top EU court imposing sanctions, but this process takes at least several months.

A result can only be expected after Britain’s transition period runs out at the end of the year.

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