Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney stated, Britain’s plan to table a legislation aimed at breaking an earlier Brexit impasse is a “negotiating tactic” and EU negotiators should recognize it as that and not get distracted.
Britain’s upper house of parliament last month voted to remove the controversial clauses from the Internal Market Bill, but the government intends to reinstate them in the lower chamber on Monday, just as trade talks reach crunch time.
“The problem linked to those pieces of legislation may find a way of disappearing if we can get the negotiation agreed on the substance,” said Coveney to RTE radio.
Incidentally, the British government has openly admitted that the clauses are a breach of international law. The European Union has repeatedly expressed anger over the legislation saying it is contributing to acrimony in trade negotiations.
Britain’s Internal Market Bill drew anger from the EU when it was first introduced since it disregarded the previously agreed terms signed in January.
The timing of the bill’s return to the House of Commons comes at a time when Johnson is scheduled to speak to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday evening, potentially to either agree on a Brexit deal or agree not to sign one.
According to a report from the Financial Times, there would be a way out for Johnson if he felt that a deal was close but the clauses were standing in the way.
The House of Commons is likely to vote in favor of reinstating the problematic clauses since Johnson has a large majority. The bill however will be returning to House of Lords on Wednesday. “The PM is going to have to make this call personally,” said a government official. “He’s incredibly forceful about the need to have a safety net. But safety nets can always be taken away when they’re not needed.”