Business & Economy

EU urges UK to stick with Brexit withdrawal agreement ahead of key talks

Brussels, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Monday urged the United Kingdom to fully comply with international law by implementing the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The news comes after the Financial Times reported that the UK government of conservative prime minister Boris Johnson was planning legislation that could undermine the withdrawal agreement signed off by the bloc and London as a foundation of future trade talks.

Later on Monday a UK government spokesperson said the executive was seeking  “clarifications” on parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, which is designed to ensure free-flowing trade between Northern Ireland, a UK territory, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, while at the same time respecting the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.

In a tweet, Von der Leyen said: “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 and integrity of the single market.”

An EU spokesperson added: “This is a matter of trust. This is a prerequisite, a precondition for the negotiations on the future partnership, I think that’s clear.”

Johnson ramped up his own rhetoric a day before the next round of trade deal discussions are set to begin in London Tuesday, saying the UK would walk away from the negotiating table if a deal was not confirmed by 15 October.

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 over three years after the voters narrowly decided to leave the bloc in a divisive 2016 referendum. It triggered an 11-month transition period in which the UK and the EU must draw up a future trade agreement, slated to come into effect on 1 January 2021.

Failure to land a deal could see the UK fall back on World Trade Organization trade tariffs.

UK negotiators want the EU to cede ground on common fisheries policies while Brussels is pushing for the UK to commit to maintain a level playing field in business and regulation, as to not undercut the single market once the UK has officially left the EU. EFE-EPA

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