Brussels, 28 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The European Commission said the European Union will not leave the post-Brexit negotiation table and remains committed to finding a deal, an apparent attempt to pre-emptively shift blame should negotiations fail.
Speaking after a meeting between the EU executive and British Cabinet chief Michael Gove on Monday, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said the European Union remained committed to striking an agreement, despite British threats to override part of the withdrawal agreement.
“It would never be the EU which would cause the end of the negotiations on the future partnership between the EU and the UK,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to create a legal “safety net” giving him the power to override a provision in the withdrawal agreement that would impose different post-Brexit customs rules on Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.
In response, the 27-member-bloc would “not be shy” to take legal action should Britain go ahead with the controversial Internal Market Bill, Sefcovic warned.
The bill has been criticized as breaking both international law and the withdrawal agreement that Britain and the EU signed as they negotiated Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Both sides have stressed that time is running out to reach an agreement. According to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, a deal has to be struck by the end of October at the latest.
A new round of negotiations is scheduled to begin on Tuesday to tackle the controversial issues of fisheries and equal competition rules.