EU raid on London: MEP eyes ‘penalisations’ on UK capital over ‘unfair competition’

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BREXIT Britain received a stern threat by Spanish MEP Garcia Perez who claimed Brussels will ensure London will be “penalised” if it practices unfair competition on labour and environmental standards

Addressing the European Parliament ahead of MEPs’ vote on the UK-EU Brexit agreement, the leader of the Social and Democrats group said Boris Johnson failed to keep his promises to Brexiteers as both Northern Ireland and Gibraltar remain effectively shackled to the EU. She also warned London will be punished unless it respects the rules of fair competition.

She said: “The loss of a significant partner is no reason to celebrate but after four years of complex negotiations we can state that the key goal of the EU in maintaining an area of free trade of goods with the UK, based on the motto of zero tariffs, zero quotas and zero unfair competition, has been achieved.

“Mr Barnier, I would like to pass on the thanks of the Social and Democrats group, conscious of the huge efforts required by the particularly difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic and the intransigent attitude on the other side of the channel.

“Brexit represents the big lie of the British right.

“Boris Johnson promised the UK the recovery of full sovereignty over its frontiers, its laws and waters.

“The reality is that Northern Ireland is still part of the customs union and the internal market of the European Union and Gibraltar will be joining the Schengen.

“And it will be Madrid which will guarantee that Schengen legislation is applied there.

“London will be subject to penalisation if there is unfair competition when it comes to physical labour and environmental standards.”

Opening the debate, Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union “will not hesitate” to use dispute resolution mechanisms in the Brexit deal if the UK breaches the agreement.

Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament the agreement protects citizens and their rights, helps to avoid “significant disruptions for workers and travellers, from the fishing community to the business community”.

The Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) “protects European interests and preserves the integrity of our single market” and “ensures high levels of protection on everything from social and labour rights, to environmental protection, to tax transparency and state aid”.

The agreement has “real teeth”, with a binding dispute resolution mechanism and the possibility for “unilateral remedial measures where necessary”.

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