IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

‘Now we get this slap in the face’ – a view from Europe

07 February, 2020

• I STILL feel shocked by the sheer bad faith of Stephen Southam in his letter on Brexit and European Union tariffs, (The customs union gives to the EU Commission something it craves, April 5, 2019).

I went on the rally in Brussels and met people who work in the European Commission. A woman wearing a commission lanyard told me: “The UK has always been a highly respected member state. Especially in the area of fishing.

“We all believe in what we are doing, providing a service to member states. Now we get this slap in the face”.

Far from craving powers, the commission works in trust to do things that it has been asked to do. Frans Timmermans has said: “The treaties do not give the EU’s institutions a blank cheque to do what they want.”

The commission has, indeed, put in place import duties to protect rice producers in Italy against imports of Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar.

Italy asked for the case to be considered. That is an exception to the EU’s tariff reduction scheme called the Generalised System of Preferences.

The GSP is there to help the trade of poor countries. Commission decisions can be challenged in the EU’s lower court and appealed in the upper court.

The commission’s reasoning, the steps it has taken, and the legal justification behind it, have all been published. See: Regulation (EU) 2019/67, January 16 2019.

PHIL JONES
Member
European Movement UK

 

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