The UK and EU are to hold emergency talks later as tensions rise over Boris Johnson’s move to override key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will meet EU official Maros Sefcovic in London to discuss how the development could affect the island of Ireland.
The European Commission had requested a meeting as soon as possible to clarify what the legislation means for the Brexit deal.
Meanwhile, the latest scheduled round of negotiations on securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU are also due to wrap up on Thursday. And trade talks between the UK’s Brexit negotiator Lord Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier continue.
The source of the EU’s concern is Mr Johnson’s proposed Internal Market Bill, which was published on Wednesday .
It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol – an element of the withdrawal agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.
The bill proposes no new checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. It gives UK ministers powers to modify or “disapply” rules relating to the movement of goods that will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal.
Mr Johnson defended the bill , saying it would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” and hand power to Scotland and Wales, while protecting the Northern Ireland peace process.
But critics say the move will damage the UK’s international reputation after a minister admitted the plans break international law.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was “very concerned” following the tabling of the bill in Parliament, and that such actions “undermine trust” with the EU.
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