UK plan to undermine withdrawal treaty puts Brexit talks at risk – FT

  • The UK is planning new legislation that will override key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, risking the collapse of trade negotiations with Brussels.
  • Sections of the internal market bill — due to be published this Wednesday — are expected to “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland customs, according to three people familiar with the plans.
  • The move would “clearly and consciously” undermine the agreement on Northern Ireland that Boris Johnson signed last October to avoid a return to a hard border in the region, one person with knowledge of the plans said.
  • “It is a very blunt instrument,” said one of those familiar with the matter. “The bill will explicitly say the government reserves the right to set its own regime, directly setting up UK law in opposition with obligations under the withdrawal agreement, and in full cognisance that this will breach international law.”

Don’t undermine Brexit withdrawal treaty, EU tells UK – MLex

  • “I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law and prerequisite for any future partnership. Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market,” Von der Leyen tweeted today.
  • The bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that “everything which was signed in the past must be respected; it is a token of trust for the future.”
  • The reports also raised alarm in the Irish government, which would be most affected by a UK U-turn on the obligations related to Northern Ireland. “This would be a very unwise way to proceed,” the country’s foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted.
  • A UK government spokesperson said today that Britain would work to resolve any outstanding differences in the interpretation of the NI protocol, suggesting that the reported changes would be used only if there was no overall deal with the EU.
  • In a sign of rising tensions between the two sides, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that if no deal on the future partnership is reached in time for the European Council meeting on Oct. 15, he will be ready to walk away from negotiations.

EU has powers to punish UK if it breaches Brexit treaty, experts warn – The Guardian

  • The latest Brexit dispute could end up in the European court of justice if it breaches the withdrawal agreement signed by Boris Johnson in January, legal experts have warned.
  • A dispute would trigger a specific legal process ending in the Luxembourg court – and if the UK was found to have breached the international treaty it signed in January, the EU has powers to punish the country.
  • The court can impose a heavy fine on the UK, suspend part of the withdrawal agreement, launch trade wars and impose tariffs or even sanctions on British exports.
  • “Because the agreement is an international treaty, the EU could bring proceedings against the UK, under the dispute resolution mechanism of the agreement,” said Catherine Barnard, a European law professor at Cambridge University.

EU businesses are target of fresh UK government Brexit preparation campaign – MLex

  • EU companies are the target of a fresh UK government communications campaign launched today to help them prepare for the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period.
  • The campaign — “Keep Business Moving” — aims to ensure EU businesses are aware of new restrictions on the movement of goods, which will come into force at the end of this year regardless of whether or not a trade deal is reached.
  • The new campaign will be delivered through a range of channels including high-impact print advertising in pan-European and country-specific titles, digital display advertising, paid search and paid social media promotion across LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Post-Brexit FDI information-request powers consulted on by UK CMA – MLex

  • Amendments to laws that allow the UK competition regulator to request information from companies to scrutinise foreign investment deals on security grounds have been sent out for consultation. The Competition and Markets Authority is seeking views until Sept. 18.
  • Under the laws, to be in place at the end of the Brexit transition period, the CMA can request information such as the ownership structure of a foreign investor and the approximate value of the deal.
  • The regulation sets out a cooperation mechanism within the EU for exchange of information over security concerns arising out of foreign direct investment. The laws are being amended so that they can apply in the UK after Brexit.