Polish EPP MEP Danuta Hübner, a former EU commissioner, issued the following statement on Thursday.
“As Chair of the AFCO Monitoring group on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, I am deeply concerned by the proposed measures of the UK government. We are in the process of negotiating the most important agreement on our future relationship, and the UK openly announces its intention to violate the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, concluded less than a year ago and in force since 31 January 2020 together with the Irish Protocol. The Protocol is supposed to be in operation before the end of transition.”
“The proposed bill would fundamentally undermine the Withdrawal Agreement and seriously damage trust we have in our British partners. It would be in breach on two accounts.”
“First, the Protocol makes it explicitly clear that while in force, both the UK and the EU must respect it and abide by its rules.”
“Second, the Protocol can cease to apply only through the consent of Northern Irish authorities. Their first vote on the issue is due in 2024.”
“Even if the bill is only a tool to put pressure on current negotiations, it is extremely cynical. Undermining the Withdrawal Agreement and, in particular, the provisions of the Protocol would pose a serious threat to lasting peace and prosperity on the Island of Ireland. Breaking international law “in a very specific way” still constitutes a violation of international law. This cannot and will not be accepted.”
“I strongly urge the UK government to withdraw any measure that undermines the full and proper implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”