“Serious risk”: why the EC sued London

By | May 16, 2020
“Serious risk”: why the EC sued London

The European Commission has filed a lawsuit against Britain, accusing it of violating EU rules.

It can threaten London hit by economic sanctions. A new demarche in Brussels coincided with the completion of the next stage of negotiations on Brexit, which are still at an impasse because of the unwillingness of both sides to compromise. The pressure of the European Union can only aggravate the tense situation, paving the way for British withdrawal without a deal. The European Commission has filed a lawsuit against the UK for non-compliance EU rules on the free movement of people. Brussels has given London four months to correct all the deficiencies, threatening otherwise to go to the next stage of the trial.

According to the EC, the legislation restricts “the scope of the” European citizens in the UK, and also gives them the opportunity to appeal taken against them prohibitions. All of this violates the EU Directive on the freedom that London is obliged to follow until the final withdrawal from the Union — 31 Dec 2020.

While the Commission is concerned that the current shortcomings jeopardize the rights of EU citizens after the transition period Brexit, which had been agreed in the Agreement on the withdrawal of the state enterprises.

As Politico writes, the claims of Brussels relate to changes incorporated in the UK in recent years: they suddenly became interested in the European Commission. However, most likely, the appearance of legal action should be considered as an attempt of the EU to put pressure on the British authorities due to problems with negotiations on the future relationship of the parties.

If you proceed to trial without concessions from London, the case could be reached until the introduction of economic sanctions against the UK.

By the way, the deadline to eliminate “violations” must end three months before the final exit of the British side of the European Union.

However, concerns about violations of human rights exist not only in EC but also in the UK. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Mike Gove in a letter to the European Commission pointed to “serious risk” of default by the EU in relation to the British, living on the territory of enterprises.

We are talking about the lack of information on the future status of British nationals within the EU, the unsolved problems with the action programs assistance to the elderly, and overall changes in the rights of Britons in the EU.

As a whole, in London on the accusations from Brussels reacted quite calmly. The official response of the Minister was: “We will look at the arguments of the EU and give a response in due course”.

The launch proceedings against the UK coincided with the completion of the third phase of Brexit negotiations between the European Union and London, which once again ended in nothing. As stated by the chief negotiator from the EU, Michel Barnier, significant progress was not achieved.

“It is impossible to make progress on important topics, as the UK refuses to have a real discussion on equal terms”, — said the representative of the European Union.

From the point of view of Brussels, the main issue of the negotiations is the reluctance of Great Britain to make concessions on key issues of future cooperation. In particular, the contentious issues related to the organization of European fishermen access to British waters and the preservation of power of the European court in the country.

A certain nervousness dialogue adds to the reluctance of London to consider a possible postponement of the date of the final withdrawal from the European Union. Britain intends to leave the Association on 31 December, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

This forces the EU to act in a strict time frame and look for a way to achieve a compromise on key issues of the future relationship. However, as confirmed by Barnie, no results remained elusive.

European pressure
In such circumstances, an additional level of pressure in the form of possible sanctions against the UK, can play as a plus to Brussels and ruin the chance for a favorable agreement.

The British did not exclude the conclusion of the negotiations without trade agreements and determined to interact with the EU at the WTO.

In addition, London’s emphasis on the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the United States. According to the Financial Times, the British authorities are willing to reduce duties on imports of American agricultural products to advance trade negotiations with Washington.

Regarding the problems of the negotiation process on Brexit, the UK has its own view of the situation. According to the chief British negotiator David frost, the main obstacle here is the European Union.

“The biggest obstacle is the insistence of the EU to include a set of new and unbalanced proposals about the so-called common rules of the game that would tie our country to the laws and standards of the European Union or will determine our domestic legal regimes in an unprecedented form of free trade agreements and which are not covered in our political Declaration,” said frost after the completion of the third phase of negotiations.

The sides have made very little progress, concluded the British negotiator. This applies in particular to reach an agreement on the most significant unresolved issues. In June, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EC President Ursula von der Leyen should join in the dialogue, but before that, the parties should resolve most of the differences. If this does not happen, Johnson and von der Leyen will have to deal with the problems, which can significantly slow down the process of agreeing on all aspects of the future agreement.

At the same time, the EU is already expressing concerns about the completion of the negotiation process without a deal, which would aggravate the difficult economic situation that arose due to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas did not rule out that Brussels will have to deal with the consequences of Brexit together with the epidemic.

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