Brexit: Truss says UK 'determined' to have good EU trade terms
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French MEP Nathalie Loiseau said Boris Johnson’s move to ignore EU red tape for the region showed Britain “doesn’t respect its commitments towards” the bloc. She was in a cabal of angry EU Parliament chiefs who have threatened to vote down the Brexit trade deal, which still has not been fully approved by the bloc. Ms Loiseau, a former French Europe minister, fumed: “Once again the British Government doesn’t respect its commitments towards the EU and choses defiance instead of trust.
“In these unfortunate circumstances, the European Parliament cannot commit to if and when it might vote on the ratification of the agreement of our future relationship.”
German MEP Bernd Lange, chairman of its trade committee, said: “This is a very aggressive act. The British Government breaks international law again.”
MEPs are still yet to decide when they will vote on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which remains only provisionally applied until the bloc.
No 10 says it will suspend customs controls on supermarket goods from Britain to Northern Ireland for another six months.
Current trade grace periods expire on March 31.
Downing Street decided to go it alone with fears Eurocrats are stalling to get their own way. It also gives stores time to adjust.
But eurocrats are pondering whether they should either slap trade tariffs on the UK and have also threatened to restrict the City of London’s access to EU markets in retaliation.
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic warned that the bloc would trigger legal proceedings “very soon” against the UK.
“We are currently preparing it and it would be really something coming to our table very soon,” Mr Sefcovic told the FT.
“The most precise term I can give you is really very soon.”
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney yesterday said the move showed the PM “cannot be trusted”.
He added: “The EU is now looking at legal options and legal actions, which means a much more formalised and rigid negotiation process as opposed to a process of partnership where you try to solve the problems together.”
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But British officials say their plan is not in breach of the divorce treaty and is simply to stop food shortages in Northern Ireland.
They argue that Eurocrats risk inflaming tensions in the region by insisting on red tape when there is no risk British goods will enter EU’s single market.
If Brexit minister Lord Frost refuses to drop the plans, EU officials say they will sue Britain.
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Their response may include hauling Britain in front of the European Court of Justice or triggering the dispute mechanism in the trade deal.
Irish Eurocrat Mairead McGuinness said the EU will “send a message” by targeting the City.
The EU’s financial services boss insisted Downing Street’s move could derail talks over regulatory cooperation to pave the way for more access for British bankers.
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