Going out with a bang?

Sep 29, 2020 | Jay Zhang


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As the Brexit endgame begins to unfold, the UK government appears ready to break the Withdrawal Agreement it negotiated less than a year ago.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently proposed contentious legislation in preparation for the UK’s departure from the EU single market. The divorce will be final at the end of December 2020, when the clock runs out on the one-year transition period during which the UK remains tied to the EU’s economic structures.


The Internal Market Bill would in effect negate much of the Withdrawal Agreement, the divorce settlement to which the UK and EU agreed late last year. The main point of contention is state aid: the British government has decided it now wants an unconstrained ability to subsidize companies and industries, something that would not be possible under the terms of the current agreement.


An important casualty of the demise of the Withdrawal Agreement would be the Northern Ireland protocol, which guarantees the Good Friday Agreement that prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland.


Should the prime minister’s proposal be passed in Parliament, and the UK renege on the Withdrawal Agreement, Britain would in effect breach international law.

 

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