(Sharecast News) - The president of the European Commission has warned the UK to respect international law as increasingly fraught trade negotiations between London and Brussels resumed on Tuesday.
Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Monday: "I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law & prerequisite for any future partnership.
"Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market."
Her comments were prompted by reports that Downing Street was considering backtracking on agreements made in 2019, specifically those intended to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and is drawing up legislation that will enable the UK to override the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on Northern Ireland.
The government said the move was intended as a standby plan in case the two sides fall to agree a deal, the BBC reported.
Trade talks between Brussels and London resume on Tuesday, with Boris Johnson, prime minister, insisting a trade deal must be secured by 15 October, when European Council next meets. If not, both sides should simply "move on", he was reported as saying.
The UK's chief negotiator, David Frost, echoed the prime minister's sentiment, noting that both sides "must make progress this week if we are to reach an agreement in time.
"We have now been talking for six months, and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground. We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country."
However, leaked diplomatic cables obtained by The Guardian said Johnson was deliberately holding back on finding a compromise on the key yet complex outstanding issues of fisheries, state aid and dispute resolution, to enable a last minute trade-off with Brussels.
The European Union's Brexit negotiating team, led by Michel Barnier, sees the strategy as "concerning", the cables revealed.
The Commission also called the last round of talks between Barnier and Frost "disappointing", according to the cables.
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)* LME metals relative performance: https://tmsnrt.rs/3uuTQeh* ILZSG zinc market balances: https://tmsnrt.rs/3nVl9Mk* ILZSG lead market balances: https://tmsnrt.rs/3nTNKSn...