EU postpones setting date for ratifying Brexit deal

The European parliament has postponed setting the date for ratifying Brexit trade deal.

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The European parliament has postponed setting the date for ratifying Brexit trade deal.

This was the result of Boris Johnson accused of breaking the international law over Northern Ireland. The chamber’s political groups agreed on Thursday to wait in light of the latest row with Downing Street, with some senior MEPs warning that the Christmas Eve deal will not be passed at all if the UK goes ahead with its plans.

The UK was accused by the European commission hence the two are not on the same page to sign the deal. The UK decision has nevertheless infuriated the Irish government and officials in Brussels.

It is expected that the deal would be delayed till April until the Northern Ireland border develops. The trade deal is officially in force but it is yet to be ratified by the law-making body. Its provisions would fall away if MEPs failed to give it their backing, leaving the UK with a no-deal outcome, including tariffs on goods.

The European Commission is examining whether to make positive “equivalence” decisions that would allow the UK financial services sector to operate in the UK market. Mairead McGuinness, a former Irish MEP, claimed it was a damaging episode. “Things like that don’t help build trust,” she said.

McGuinness further noted that Britain’s chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had told the Bank of England on Wednesday to be creative in keeping the City of London competitive after Brexit.

McGuinness said there remained gaps in information provided by Britain on its intentions to diverge from EU rules.

Lord Frost, whose leadership of the UK’s negotiating team during the recent trade and security talks was marked by a robust style, was also personally criticized on Thursday by the Irish government for making a “very, very dangerous” unilateral decision.

Ireland’s minister for European affairs, Thomas Byrne, said the peace process in Northern Ireland should not be a victim of the UK’s newly antagonistic approach to the EU. He said he feared the consequences for continued peace in Northern Ireland if border issues there became embroiled in the difficult relationship between Brussels and London.

This week, loyalist paramilitary groups told the British and Irish governments they were withdrawing support for the Good Friday agreement in protest at Northern Ireland’s Irish Sea trade border with the rest of the UK.

Frost recently won out in a Whitehall power tussle to take over from Michael Gove both as the co-chair of a joint committee implementing the withdrawal agreement and a partnership council relating to the trade and security deal.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, said the EU was considering legal action through the European court of justice.