Reports have emerged from sources said to be Brussels insiders claiming the EU saw no room for negotiation regarding the new legislation meant to tweak parts of the dreaded Northern Ireland Protocol. The sources claim that the EU will keep quiet on the Bill but will likely begin legal action to try to stop the proposed legislation.
Alex Andreou, guest tweeting from the cross-party advocacy group Best for Britain account, said that the unilateral move by the Government had “annihilated all trust” between the UK and the EU.
He said: “The UK has officially no friends left in the [EU] Commission or any capitals.
“Maroš Šefčovič has all-but washed his hands of the UK. He had hoped for a reset when Truss took over. Initially, mood music was positive, but this latest move annihilated all trust. If negotiations restart, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else was the main contact.”
This “annihilation” of trust would not force the EU to act hastily according to Mr Andreou. However, he said this should not be perceived as a lack of action by Brussels but quite the opposite.
Mr Andreou said: “[The] EU will not act precipitously. It will simply restart the grinding cogs of legal action. This is because a) they recognise a possibility of change in UK leadership; b) they don’t want to add to [the] economic crisis; and c) they know Johnson wants drama – they won’t oblige.
“So, what might be perceived as passivity by UK pundits, is actually a sort of cold, merciless calm.”
He added: “This is actually awful news for the UK, because it means both [the] Commission and Member States think there is no more room for negotiation.
“No off-ramp. The bill’s attempt to have EU Law adjudicated by someone other than the ECJ, is seen as insurmountable.”
Mr Andreou warned that the UK was effectively alone, and without friends in the EU advocating for Brexit Britain during negotiations.
He said: “Nobody is advocating the UK’s position behind the scenes. Nobody is seen as a mediator or conduit. So, if you hear very little from the EU in the coming days, it is by design. There’s nothing to be said.”
The news comes as tensions are rising between the UK and the EU over proposed legislation which will see the UK unilaterally change some aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Government claims that the changes are necessary to protect the Good Friday Agreement and smooth trade bottlenecks that have formed as a result of EU checks.
The EU, however, has said that the move will harm relations between Britain and the bloc.
In a statement released yesterday, Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič warned the UK that the legislation would “damage trust”.
He said: “It is with significant concern that we take note of today’s decision by the UK government to table legislation disapplying core elements of the Protocol. Unilateral action is damaging to mutual trust. The Commission will now assess the UK draft legislation.”
He added: “Our aim will always be to secure the implementation of the Protocol. Our reaction to unilateral action by the UK will reflect that aim and will be proportionate.”
Mr Šefčovič previously stated that renegotiating the Protocol was “unrealistic” and would cause further “uncertainty”.
He said: “For these reasons, the European Union will not renegotiate the protocol.”