Foreign Desk Report
BRUSSELS/LONDON: The head of the European Commission said on Wednesday the chances of reaching a trade deal with Britain were fading by the day as the British government pushes ahead with moves that would breach their divorce treaty.
The British government unveiled draft legislation last week which it acknowledges would violate its international legal obligations and undercut parts of the divorce deal it signed before Britain formally left the European Union in January.
Brussels wants Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap what is known as the Internal Market bill, saying it could sink talks on future trade arrangements before Britain leaves the EU’s single market. Britain has remained part of the single market during a status quo transition period that expires at the end of this year. Johnson has refused.
“With every day that passes, the chances of a timely agreement do start to fade,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the EU executive.
In a speech to the European Parliament, she said the divorce agreement “cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied”.
“This is a matter of law, trust and good faith. Trust is the foundation of any strong partnership,” she said.