The EU Pays Scant Regard To Its Laws, Let Alone Its international Obligations

Graham Charles Lear
9 min readSep 10, 2020

Teeck Tock Barnier zee clock is teeking

So the final talks have started with a major row between London and Brussels and with the European Commission’s President, Ursula von der Leyen, threatening the talks will be off if the UK ‘reneges’ on this matter of ‘trust’.

Again we see the EU doing what it does best in life-threatening if they dont get their way. Never mind the fact that they are without an ounce of trust and never intended to honour the Withdrawal Agreement.

‘Everything that has been signed must be respected,’ Barnier told France Inter radio. ‘We demand quite simply, and calmly, and until the end, that the political commitments in the text agreed by Boris Johnson be legally translated into this treaty.’

As we will see

“The EU has been in default of its obligations under the Withdrawal Treaty since it was signed and has in effect broken international law.

“The UK Government is left with no choice but to repudiate the Withdrawal Treaty and pass legislation to mitigate the effect of the EU’s breaches, for the sake of the citizens of the UK and the EU27, and to uphold the principles of international law.”

Legal arguments showing how the EU has broken its own treaty with the UK

  • The essential condition of participating in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) to secure a free trade agreement (FTA)
  • The EU has been acting in breach of a material term of the WA by denying the UK an FTA

The EU has attempted to impose wholly unreasonable restrictions on the UK which no other country would accept

The treaty was therefore entered into by the UK on a false premise from the EU

The EU has breached its legal obligation to act in good faith

The WA breaks the terms of the Good Friday Agreement

The WA is in breach of the ECHR principle of the right to vote

The WA is in breach of the UN Charter’s principle of “self-determination”, its most important tenet

The UK Government must now pass an Act of Parliament superseding and revoking the WA

It’s the EU which has already breached the terms of the Withdrawal Treaty

In July 2020 a102-page paper was presented to Government on the issues of the WA. The arguments were written by some of the country’s top lawyers experienced in these matters, such as Martin Howe QC, Chairman of Lawyers for Britain, and Barnabas Reynolds, a Partner at Shearman and Sterling, amongst other experienced lawyers in EU matters.

Their conclusions were stark.

  1. The UK as a state retains its sovereign right to withdrawal from the EU, which is an international organisation
  2. When the UK exercised its right to leave, it participated in the WA process on the basis of an essential condition: agreement on a future permanent arrangement with the EU that enshrines UK sovereignty and secures an FTA
  3. The Protocol and other aspects of the WA are incompatible with the agreement intended for the end of 2020
  4. The EU has been acting in breach of a material term of the WA, meaning that the treaty was entered into on a false premise
  5. The Protocol is in breach of the ECHR principle of the right to vote
  6. The UK must exercise its right to suspend and terminate the WA obligations
  7. The UK must subsequently pass an Act of Parliament superseding the WA, in line with Parliamentary Sovereignty under Section 38 of the Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020

The full legal argument for tearing up the WA and PD

The detail of the legal arguments is best read in full in the CBP paper [PDF], starting on page 68. Of necessity, this article can only present a summary together with key points from the document.

Below I present key excerpts from the report

As can be seen, the key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement including the Northern Ireland Protocol are incompatible with UK sovereignty if continued into the future and should operate merely as a steppingstone to an end of year long-term relationship between the UK and the EU.

“The EU has seriously breached the agreement, even as it stands since it has been structurally unable to engage in meaningful negotiations (for what is now the majority of the intended negotiation period) towards a sovereign outcome for the UK.

“The UK, therefore, needs to prevail on the EU to agree to remove the sovereignty-incompliant elements of the WA and the Protocol or be ready to repudiate the arrangement.”

If the EU refuses a mutually beneficial future arrangement, then the UK should:

  1. Treat the Withdrawal Agreement and Protocol as no longer having any legal force
  2. Implement Alternative Arrangements for the North-South border on the Island of Ireland, indicating to the EU that the Government is prepared to negotiate Mutual Enforcement instead, if preferred, from the end of 2020
  3. Cease to make payments to the EU under its provisions
  4. Treat EU citizens resident in the UK unilaterally in a manner consistent with the UK’s legal framework

It should be noted that since the above report was written the EU has continued to act in bad faith. It is my understanding that the report’s authors now see little alternative but to move to revoke the Withdrawal Treaty unless there is a very rapid and fundamental shift in EU policy.

The big problem for the EU is Their signing of the Withdrawal Treaty that committed them to the following.

“The Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours, in good faith and in full respect of their respective legal orders, to take the necessary steps to negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship referred to in the Political Declaration of 17 October 2019 and to conduct the relevant procedures for the ratification or conclusion of those agreements, to ensure that those agreements apply, to the extent possible, as from the end of the transition period.”

  • Article 184

Even Barnier must know that the Withdrawal Agreement has a value in international law so much so that the wise old owl Sir Bill Cash inserted Section 38 specifying that ‘nothing in this Act derogates from the sovereignty of the Parliament of the United Kingdom’ into the Bill that Parliament passed in London. The exact words were This Part shall not affect any laws, regulations or administrative provisions applicable in a host State or a State of work which would be more favourable to the persons concerned.

An international treaty may have been signed by another country or an organisation (such as the EU) and the UK, but that treaty only comes into effect when it has been voted through as a Bill in our Parliament. That’s why there was a Bill to gain Parliament’s consent to the Withdrawal Agreement. Why have a debate if the Government can just sign whatever treaty they fancy? Sometimes our friends across the Channel and the North Sea find an old and wise democracy a little puzzling.

Under the Vienna Convention on International Treaties if circumstances change and to abide by a treaty would not be in the national interest, a signatory nation may revoke that treaty. As the EU did not attempt to reach an agreement with us, other than to threaten and stonewall until we caved in and agreed to the status quo, which is not in our interest as it cancels at least three national votes including two elections, let us follow international law to the letter and revoke the Withdrawal Agreement.

The statement of Government Minister Brandon Lewis

— a former close ally of Theresa May — on Tuesday in Parliament is at odds with the legal advice above. I can only guess at the reasons for this catastrophic error which has damaged the reputation of the United Kingdom at home and around the world — totally unnecessarily. However, the clue is that he a former close ally of Theresa May who was and still is a firm Remainer who is still smarting from being bumped from her high Office of Prime Minister.

One thing is for sure, there are still firm Remain MPs in the Tory party that need the Wipp removing post haste.

The same can be said of the Civil Service as well. That snake in the grass Olly Robbins

another one of Mrs Mays main allies may have gone, but there are plenty more that are being outed as ardent Remainers who believe in the EU more than they do their own country, one being Sir Jonathan Jones

the head of the Government Legal Department is the latest in a long line of resignations of senior civil servants in Whitehall under Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

The point is that when Sir Bill Cash inserted that clause in the WA it was in effect a neatly laid trap that no Remainer saw, not even the EU lawyers saw it as they scrutinised what both the EU and the UK was about to sign. Bill Cash is a wily old solicitor in his own right. He qualified as a solicitor in 1967. No one picked up on it and this week to the shock of all Remainers and the EU the trap was sprung quite neatly I may add.

The EU was never going to negotiate in good faith. The day the 2016 referendum results came through a certain President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was filmed snarling “This will not be an amicable divorce.”

It was obvious from that moment on that the agenda of the unelected EU superstate-fanatics in Brussels would be to punish the British for voting to leave, no matter what. EU has not only failed to act expeditiously but has placed every conceivable obstacle in the way of any normal agreement being reached. As such, they have not acted in good faith and we should consider them to be in serious and irredeemable material breach of their obligations. The United Kingdom Government is therefore entitled to consider that the EU has de facto reneged on the Treaty they signed and that the EU is in default.

So take us to court foolish EU because with the overwhelming evidence the UK has on your despicable antics not only will you lose but the whole world will look on in amazement at what you are.

Same if you try any sanctions. It will be the UK taking you to court and again with the overwhelming evidence the UK has on your despicable antics the world will look on in amazement at what you are.

So in the words of the great American actor Clint Eastwood. MAKE MY DAY PUNKS

This is the message the Government should be promulgating at home and internationally, not the nonsense we heard in the Commons on Tuesday.

The EU has broken the terms of the Agreement it drafted and signed

The EU still has the option of offering the UK a ‘Canada+++’ agreement, which EU Council President Donald Tusk and other EU figures proffered in 2018. Since the EU does not seem interested in a genuine trade deal with the United Kingdom along the lines of trade deals they have agreed with other countries, we must assume that all of their negotiations with the UK have been conducted in bad faith.

Mr Johnson’s Government must now proceed on the basis that the EU has broken international law and that the Withdrawal Agreement has no validity.

Most importantly it must get this message out there now.

Finally, I must say to the Remainer rump of holier-than-thou politicians, exemplified by Theresa May

in Parliament on Tuesday, that had it not been for their crass incompetence and wilful obstruction of the democratically expressed will of the British people to leave the EU, we would not be having to clear up their mess now.

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.