On Tuesday, the government of the United Kingdom announced that it intends to pass a law that will nullify parts of the trade agreement that was signed by both parties less than two years ago. This announcement brought the conflict between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) to an entirely new level.
The United Kingdom claims that its move to unilaterally change the legally binding treaty, which seems to violate international law, is an insurance policy in case it is unable to reach an agreement with the EU to settle a protracted disagreement over the post-war trade regulations. Brexit. Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said that “we prefer to achieve a negotiated agreement with the EU.”
The news elicited a strong reaction from the EU, which accuses Prime Minister Boris Johnson of trying to find a way out of an agreement that was negotiated and signed by his administration as part of the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU in 2020. The debate increases the likelihood that Great Britain will engage in a trade war with the EU, which, despite Brexit, will continue to be its primary trading partner.
“Unilateral actions that contravene an international accord are not acceptable,” said EU Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič the bloc’s top Brexit official. “The EU will not tolerate unilateral measures that contradict an international agreement.”
If the bill is passed in London, the official said that the European Union “will have to react with all of the means at its disposal.” Truss said before the House of Commons that the action being taken “is compatible with our commitments under international law.” He said that they want to publish the law within the next several weeks, and in the meanwhile, they intend to have discussions with the EU.
The only portion of the United Kingdom that is bordered by an EU member state, Northern Ireland, is being negatively impacted by the trade restrictions that will be in place after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, according to the Conservative administration in Britain.
The open border is a crucial component of the peace process that put an end to decades of violence in Northern Ireland, so when Britain left the free-trade bloc, it was agreed that the Irish land border would continue to be free of customs and other controls. This is because the open border is a crucial pillar of the peace process.