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The European Union’s decision to launch legal action against the UK was ridiculed by talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer and former Brexit negotiator David Davis. On Thursday, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU was launching legal proceedings against the UK over Boris Johnson’s plans to override parts of the Brexit divorce deal. However, Ms Hartley-Brewer called this an empty threat, after pointing out the EU launches legal actions against member states “all the time”.
She said: “There are huge numbers of these cases brought by the EU. Legal action is brought by the EU against member states all the time.
“Including those very upset about the Internal Market Bill like Germany, France, Ireland and the others.”
The radio host pointed out that the UK is currently facing 33 such threats from Brussels, compared to Spain’s 57, Italy’s 49 and Germany’s 47.
Ms Hartley-Brewer added: “This is just a bit of grand-standing, a bit of theatre, isn’t it?”
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David Davis responded: “I don’t think it’s something we should take particularly seriously.
“It is either a routine first step – that is what Mark Rutte said.
“Or it is posturing. A part of the negotiation process. An attempt to put a little bit of pressure on us.
“The European Union use every single lever available to them. That is what we have seen ins the last few years.
“All sorts of posturing and that’s why I think we should just ignore it.
“The truth is, it is will only be relevant in the event of a no deal, and even in that scenario, I’m not sure how much leverage the European courts have over us.
“Frankly, I would shrug it off.”
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Downing Street responded in a similar manner, pointing out there are currently 800 such active proceedings underway across the continent.
Ministers dismissed the legal letter from the EU as trade “negotiations posturing”.
It typically takes two years before legal action against the UK reaches judges at the European Court of Justice.
This comes ahead of a “extremely significant” meeting between Boris Johnson and the EU Commission chief on Saturday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister would “take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps” with the Commission President.
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