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EU stands united as Brexit trade talks unravel further

The 27 European Union nations on Friday presented a reinforced united bloc in dealing with the United Kingdom and negotiating a trade deal after the British government said it plans to violate part of the Brexit divorce agreement signed by both sides less than a year ago.

Anger and bafflement at the U.K’s. plans not to honour an international treaty with a Bill that would diminish the EU’s oversight of trade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland mixed with steadfast resolve to stand together as time runs short to find a smooth economic transition for Brexit by December 31.

“We have never in recent history — or, maybe in ancient history dealing with other countries — seen such a renegement on an agreement,” Ireland’s Europe Minister, Thomas Byrne, said. “It is unacceptable,” he told the BBC.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan put the talks on a future trade deal in an even deeper rut. Even though a no-deal Brexit on January 1 would hit EU nations like Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands especially hard, none were ready to cave in and meet U.K. demands, which the EU views as seeking free access to the EU market while refusing to guarantee fair competition.

“We will never accept any kind of decision that might weaken or jeopardise the European single market, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. He added, “We have made very clear that all European countries remain united and strong.”

At a meeting of eurozone Finance Ministers in Berlin, all other comments made backed Mr. Le Maire’s stance.

Ireland, which has the EU’s only land border with the U.K., stands to lose the most in a breakdown of trade talks. Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe welcomed “solidarity and support” from his colleagues in other EU countries.

The British government has acknowledged it would violate the Brexit agreement with the Bill that would diminish the EU’s oversight of trade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland. But it denies it is trying to renege on the agreement.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 2:19:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/eu-stands-united-as-brexit-trade-talks-unravel-further/article32584794.ece

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