Breaking: @MichelBarnier has told EU ambassadors that legal action against the UK remains on the table, but will be used only at the "appropriate time"
2/ During a briefing this morning it's understood EU ambassadors registered "cold fury" at Boris Johnson's move to overwrite the NI Protocol. However the message was to continue with the trade negotiations, and to separate the work of the Joint Committee (on the WA) + trade talks
3/ However, member states told Barnier that strong vigilance was needed on governance - ie, dispute resolution - for both the WA and the future relationship.
4/ "That means double vigilance on governance and enforcement measures,” says a source briefed on the Coreper meeting. “And there is no mood to compromise on that. We need a very robust governance system if there is to be a deal.”
5/ Meanwhile, acc to a paper circulated by the Commission to member states, the EU will formally list the UK as an “approved” third country when it comes to importing food products into the EU, only once the London provides “clarity” on its own future food imports regime
6/ A dispute over when both sides will “list” the other in terms of food imports, is seen in the EU as being used by Downing Street as “cover” to allege that the EU was threatening a food blockade of Northern Ireland.
7/ The working paper, seen by @rtenews, states: “Michel Barnier clearly stated that the EU is not refusing to list the UK as a third country for food imports.
8/ “To be listed, the EU needs to know in full what a country’s rules are, including for imports. This assessment is an objective process and the same for all countries.
9/ “If the future UK rules on food imports fulfil all applicable conditions, then the European Union would proceed with the listing of the United Kingdom as a third country for these purposes as of 1 January 2021.
10/ “However, up to now, we do not have full clarity from the UK government regarding its future regime, in particular for imports into the UK.”
11/ The working paper says that London informed Brussels “last week” that it will apply the EU’s body of rules on animal health and food safety, known as the Official Controls Regulation.
12/ The paper also states that London had not listed the EU as approved for food imports to the UK: “The UK has not yet proceeded to list the EU as a third country.”
13/ On Sunday David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, challenged the EU’s insistence that the UK had not come forward with details of its food safety regime from the end of the Brexit transition period.
14/ In a tweet Mr Frost stated: “On 3rd country listings: the EU knows perfectly well all the details of our food standards rules because we are operating EU rules. The situation on 1.1.21 is accordingly perfectly clear.”
15/ However, the paper circulated to EU capitals says that, although the UK is operating under EU rules at present because of the transition period, there is no legal clarity about the regime post January 1.
16/ “The UK is indeed ‘operating EU rules’ right now as we are in the transition period,” the paper states. “We are still waiting for comprehensive information on what the UK’s future rules will be, in particular for imports, after 31 Dec and when these rules will be adopted."
17/ The circular also spells out that exit summary declarations for goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain are required under the Protocol.

This is one of the elements the Internal Market Bill attempts to “disapply”.
18/ The Commission paper states that while exit summary declarations “are in general much lighter than import customs procedures,” some formalities are required for VAT purposes, to control export prohibitions and restrictions, and to allow the EU to comply with intl rules.
19/ “This is necessary to protect the external dimension of the Single Market. The Northern Ireland Protocol provides for the continued application of those export formalities, in as far as they are necessary to ensure compliance with the Union’s international obligations.”

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More from @tconnellyRTE

22 Sep
Some potentially conciliatory remarks by Irish foreign minister @simoncoveney on the Internal Mkt Bill standoff, following today's General Affairs Council in Brussels:
1/ Coveney said the interim between when the Bill leaves the Commons and is concluded by the Lords could allow both sides, through the Joint Committee, to "address the issues" the Bill professes to address
2/ "There’s likely to be a break of a number of weeks between the Commons consideration and the Lords consideration of this legislation.
Read 13 tweets
22 Sep
The German Europe Minister Michael Roth says Germany is "really, really disappointed" in the results of the Brexit negotiations so far.

Arriving at the General Affairs Council in Brussels he also issues a plea to "our friends in London" to "stop the games"
He says the Internal Market Bill is "extremely" worrisome, as "it violates the guiding principles of the WA, and that is totally unacceptable for us..."
He says there are two key signals: first, "strong support for Michel Barnier and his team". Second, "we will reaffirm our strong commitment for a fair deal based on trust and confidence between the EU and United Kingdom."
Read 4 tweets
18 Sep
Breaking: EU official says EU is "neither intimidated nor impressed" by Boris Johnson's Internal Mkt Bill. However, "breaking international agreement is extremely worrying."
2/ Statement follows meeting between European Council President Charles Michel and chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Official says the latest Brexit situation will be added to the agenda of next week's summit in Brussels.
3/ Official says the EU is "firm and steady"

Official adds: "There is a need to fully implement the withdrawal agreement, no question about it. EU is neither intimidated nor impressed but breaking international agreement is extremely worrying.
Read 5 tweets
16 Sep
Did @BorisJohnson give himself a ladder to climb down when responding to @hilarybennmp's question if he believes the EU is acting in bad faith?

Johnson replies: "It is always possible that I am mistaken [that the EU is acting in bad faith].
2/ "Perhaps they will prove my suspicions wrong, and perhaps they will agree in the Joint Committee to withdraw some of the extreme suggestions that I've heard and all will be well.
3/ "But until such time I prefer to have protections guarantee the integrity of this country and protect against the potential rupture of the United Kingdom..."
Read 7 tweets
16 Sep
.@vonderleyen on Internal Market Bill

“This WA took 3 years to negotiate and we worked relentlessly on it, line by line, word by word. And together we succeeded. And the result guarantees our citizens’ rights, financial interests, the integrity of the SM, and crucially the GFA
“The EU and UK jointly agreed it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland. We will never backtrack on that. This agreement has been ratified by this House [EP] and by the House of Commons.
“It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or disapplied. This is a matter of law and trust and good faith.
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
A propos of the integrity of the UK and the NI Protocol. This is the very first Article of the Protocol, which is legally binding on both sides:
This Protocol is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Agreement in respect of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent, which provides that any change in that status can only be made with the consent of a majority of its people.
2. This Protocol respects the essential State functions and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.
Read 4 tweets

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