BRUSSELS – The European Union is taking legal action against the UK in response to unilateral moves to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the post-Brexit deal between the two sides, the bloc’s executive said on Wednesday.
The UK bill aims to remove customs controls on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. This will overturn parts of the trade deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed with the EU less than two years ago.
The EU believes that the UK’s unilateral decision violates international law. The so-called Northern Ireland Protocol is the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s internal market for goods.
The 27-nation bloc will reopen infringement proceedings launched against the UK government last year after Britain unilaterally extended a grace period applicable to trade in the island of Ireland.
The lawsuit was suspended in September 2021 as both parties tried to find a common solution. In addition, the EU will take further action against the UK for allegedly failing to carry out the necessary controls under EU rules and to provide trade statistics data as required by the Protocol.
In the final stages of an infringement case that can last months, the European Commission can refer such cases to the bloc’s highest court. The European Court of Justice has jurisdiction over questions of EU law in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that borders an EU country – the Republic of Ireland. When Britain left the EU and its borderless free trade area, both sides agreed to keep Ireland’s land border free of customs posts and other controls, as an open border is a key pillar of the peace process that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
Instead, to protect the EU’s internal market, some goods such as meat and eggs entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK will be controlled
British trade unionists in Northern Ireland say the new controls have strained businesses and frayed ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – seen by some unionists as a threat to their British identity.
Britain’s Conservative government says Brexit rules are also undermining peace in Northern Ireland, where they have caused a political crisis. Northern Ireland’s main trade union party is blocking the formation of a new power-sharing government in Belfast and says it will not participate until Brexit trade rules are scrapped.
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https://www.local10.com/business/2022/06/15/eu-launches-legal-action-against-uk-over-post-brexit-changes/ The EU is taking legal action against the UK over post-Brexit changes