The Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, has asked the British Minister, Michael Gove, an urgent meeting of the Joint Committee created to follow up on the Withdrawal Agreement, signed in January, in order to clarify the consequences of the unilateral modification by the British Government of articles of the treaty in a domestic bill.
Released on Wednesday, its approval would give London the right to “Alter or stop applying” provisions of the agreed protocol on the customs regime between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain and to subsidize companies doing business in Northern Ireland without reference to Community law, even though the region would remain in the European common market.
The bill expands its challenge by stating that the Government will be able to make decisions about state subsidies to companies “Even if they are incompatible or inconsistent with any relevant domestic or international law”. It would thus seek to shield the law from judicial review by a British court, or from scrutiny by the EU Court of Justice and other international courts.
The Commission’s negotiator, Michel Barnier, had insistently asked his British interlocutors for their plan on state aid to companies, to advance the negotiation of the new trade agreement. London has published a summary plan. It agrees, contradicting the bill, to exclusively follow the rules of the World Trade Organization and international laws.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman explained that the negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement “It was not like those of other treaties, because it was agreed very quickly in very difficult political circumstances”. But the government was warned that it would create border controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and denied it. He forced its approval in three days, claiming that the population was fed up with parliamentary debates.
The Minister of Industry, Alok Sharma, stated in the presentation of the bill that it is necessary “to rebuild and recover after Covid.” “We must remain flexible to support and support UK strategic interests, and to be able to intervene more quickly and easily when necessary,” he added. London would break the rules to gain competitive advantage compared to other economies affected by the covid.
The Government has perhaps belatedly discovered that the limitation of state aid in Northern Ireland and the competence of the EU Court of Justice to settle disputes would not be confined to the region. British companies trading in Northern Ireland would also be affected. His solution is to break the Treaty and force the abrupt march, or to mount this scandal to obtain cessions in the negotiation with Barnier and his team.
Former British Prime Minister John Major accused the Government of causing the loss of something ‘priceless’, the UK’s reputation. A veteran Welsh Conservative has resigned as a member of the parliamentary group in the Cardiff Assembly. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated that “the failure of international law is unacceptable” and the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared herself “concerned”.
When it comes to Johnson, there’s always a sham. Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, who was Scotland’s minister during the 2014 referendum, warned at the Prime Minister Question session that has weakened the arguments against the Scottish pro-independence that, following, according to Carmichael, the example of Catalonia, they want to call an illegal referendum if they are denied the transfer to organize it.
Johnson congratulated him on the question, because Labor leader Keir Starmer would have been ‘negligent in not raising this important question’ of the legal changes. Necessary, according to him, “to protect extreme and irrational interpretations (of the Agreement), which could lead to the creation of a border, detrimental to the Good Friday Agreement and peace in our country.” Starmer knew Johnson wanted to get him into a fight over Brexit and asked him six questions pointing to his incompetence in managing the pandemic.