Brexit or not, EU tells Britain to tweak transport levy or face top court

FILE PHOTO: An official removes the European Union flag from Britain’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium January 31, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brexit may be done, but the European Union’s executive served a reminder on Wednesday that Britain is not yet free from the bloc’s laws, demanding that it change transport levies or face proceedings in front of the European Court of Justice.

Britain left the EU last month but it remains in a status-quo transition period until the end of 2020, which is aimed at giving the two sides time to work out a new deal on trade, security and other issues defining their future relationship.

“EU law continues to apply in full to the UK for the duration of the transition period. In particular, the UK remains subject to the EU’s enforcement mechanisms, such as infringement procedures,” the European Commission said in a statement.

It said Britain’s road charges for heavy good vehicles violated bloc rules, including by discriminating against foreign hauliers because British hauliers are compensated through a reduction on the annual tax paid of U.K.-registered vehicles.

Britain has two months to comply with the EU’s directive on road charging, failing which the Commission may refer the matter to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

Escaping the jurisdiction of the EU’s supreme court was a key promise of Brexit that was made to the British people.

There was no immediate reaction from the UK mission to the EU in Brussels.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by John Chalmers and Chizu Nomiyama

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