EU members mull legal action over UK Brexit law

11 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

BRUSSELS: The EU could take Britain to the European Court of Justice if it passes a bill to overwrite parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, diplomats said on Thursday, reports AFP.

Maros Sefcovic, the EU vice president in charge of implementing the divorce, was to hold emergency talks with his UK counterpart Michael Gove later in the day.

But if this “extraordinary meeting” does not resolve Brussels’ concerns about the draft bill on Britain’s domestic market, the EU could take action—either using the dispute mechanism under the Withdrawal Agreement to form an arbitration panel or by heading to the ECJ.

“A breach of the obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement would open the way to the legal remedies,” a draft prepared by EU ambassadors and seen by AFP says. “Once the bill is adopted (as proposed), the Commission may initiate infringement proceedings against the UK for breach of the good faith obligations,” it says.

“Even before the bill is adopted, it could be defendable to bring infringement proceedings on the same grounds.” The document admits it is unlikely a case could be brought before the end of the year, when Britain will leave the EU single market and customs union.