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The UK government has admitted that it will be proposing to break international law when it introduces the Internal Market Bill to the Commons today (Wednesday). (Brexit: Britain says it may break international law in `limited way', UK, 8th. September). Specifically, it will be abrogating parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated, agreed, and ratified with the EU only last year.

Apparently it believes that this will improve its negotiating hand in the ongoing trade negotiations with Brussels. Quite why it believes the EU will compromise the integrity of the Single market to facilitate an ex-member is less than clear: The EU took a hard like with Switzerland when its citizens voted to curtail the freedom of movement enshrined in EU/Switzerland agreements.

No doubt the UK government believes it can apply pressure on the weakest link in the EU chain, the land border within Ireland, banking on the unwillingness of the Irish government to implement customs controls there, come what may.

But the UK government may also be underestimating the determination of the EU to preserve the integrity of the Single Market, and to avoid giving an ex-member a level of access granted only to existing members in compliance with state aid and other "level playing field" rules that the UK is determined to eliminate.

Boris Johnson has said that in the event of no deal, he will be happy to trade with the EU under WTO rules, in the same way as Australia does now. But why would the EU continue to observe WTO rules with the UK when the UK breaks international law and unilateral abrogates trade rules freely negotiated only last year?

This will not end well, either with another humiliating climbdown by Boris Johnson, or with queues of trucks denied access to Calais stretching all the way back from Dover to the M25 around London. Ireland had better ensure it has adequate shipping capacity for its exports to the EU avoiding the land-bridge through Britain.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 04:22:13 PM EST

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