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Senior Euro MPs from the institution’s blocs of Christian democrat, green and socialist politicians insisted the European Union must stand firm against the Government’s Internal Market Bill. The Prime Minister saw off a Tory rebellion last night when the legislation was advanced through the House of Commons. Philippe Lamberts, leader of the European Greens, said: “We are confronted with challenges to our democracy from within the European Union, but also from outside.
“I would say that the latest Brexit episode tells us the United Kingdom has joined too long a list of countries who have abandoned the idea of a rules-based international order in favour of a world where might is right or political expediency is right.”
The Belgian MEP insisted the possibility Downing Street could breach international law by scrapping EU customs checks and state aid rules for Northern Ireland is “not good news” for the bloc.
German MEP Manfred Weber, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, accused the Prime Minister of living a lie with his Brexit plans.
The leader of the centre-right European People’s Party said: “The draft Bill is unprecedented and shocking.
“This is what populism can do to a country, which was a global leader of international law and trade.”
Members of the EU Parliament’s Brexit committee have already announced they will vote down any trade deal with Britain unless the legislation is scrapped.
Socialist leader Iratxe Garcia Perez warned No 10 not to test the EU’s resolve on the issue as wrangling over a free-trade agreement reaches a critical stage.
The Spaniard fumed: “It’s important that law is always complied with and we do hope the United Kingdom is going to comply with the law.
“We’ve seen statements made by Johnson that run totally counter to that.”
She added: “The law is absolutely fundamental within the context of the ongoing negotiations.
“The European Parliament and all institutions are absolutely clear on that.
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“It’s important we continue to maintain unity – Europe has got to be unified in these negotiations.”
Mr Weber issued a deadline to Britain to make changes to the Brexit Bill or risk seeing the negotiations on the future relationship brought to an end.
“We need clarification within the next few days,” he said.
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“Why negotiate an agreement about the future if we cannot count on our agreements of the past?”
In a statement last week, the European Parliament said: “The Internal Market Bill gravely damages the necessary trust and credibility which the European Parliament has already said is ‘an essential element of any negotiation’, thus putting at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations.
“Should the UK authorities breach – or threaten to breach – the Withdrawal Agreement, through the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in its current form or by any other way, the European Parliament will in no circumstance ratify any agreement on the future relation between the EU and the UK.”
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