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European Union considering further legal action in Brexit standoff

EU is considering stepping up its legal action against UK over legislation that would breach parts of the legally binding Brexit agreement that the EU and the British government reached late last year

European Union | Brexit

AP  |  Brussels 

Illustration: Binay Sinha
Illustration: Binay Sinha

The is considering stepping up its legal action against Britain over legislation that would breach parts of the legally binding agreement that the EU and the British government reached late last year.

The fight over the government's proposed bill continued Tuesday as the two sides were deep in negotiations on a free trade agreement. A trade deal must reached within weeks for it to be in place on Jan 1, when an 11-month transition period ends.

This dispute will have to be resolved, EU spokesman Daniel Ferrie said.

A legal fight on top of the negotiations only highlights how bruising Britain's withdrawal from the has proven to be.

The 27-nation bloc said it could now move to a second phase in the dispute over the U.K. Internal Market bill following Britain's refusal to reply to an Oct. 1 legal request seeking an explanation for its actions, EU leaders fear that if the UK bill becomes law, it could lead to the reimposition of a hard land border between Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain, and EU member Ireland.

The border was heavily militarized during the decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, and the free movement of people and goods across it is viewed as essential to upholding the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

There are hopes that the legal fight would become obsolete if both sides agree on a trade deal. But despite months of talks, substantive disagreements remain.

Britain wants to retain as many of the advantages of EU membership as possible without have to live by the bloc's rules. The EU is insisting on stringent trade regulations to avoid having a giant buccaneering trade partner on its doorstep that could freely undercut the bloc's state aid, social and environmental standards.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, November 03 2020. 20:22 IST