E.U. Launches Legal Action Against U.K. Over Post-Brexit Changes

The European Union is launching legal action against the U.K. in response to unilateral moves to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the post-Brexit deal between both sides, the bloc’s executive branch said Wednesday.

Proposed U.K. legislation seeks to eliminate customs controls on certain goods entering Northern Ireland via the U.K. This will replace parts of the E.U. trade treaty signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This bill was introduced less than 2 years ago.

E.U. believes that the UK’s unilateral decision is violating international law. The so-called Northern Ireland Protocol is the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland in the E.U.’s single market for goods.

After Britain unilaterally extended the grace period for trade on Ireland, the U.K. Government reopened the infraction procedure against it. The bloc of 27 nations will now restart that process.

Continue reading: Brexit is still a hot mess

As both sides attempted to come up with a joint solution, the September 2021 action was put off. E.U. Further action will be taken against the U.K. if it is perceived that the E.U. has not implemented necessary controls. Rules and trade statistics data, as required by the protocol.

In the final stages of an infringement procedure, which can last for months, the European Commission can refer such cases to the bloc’s highest court. E.U. matters are subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the U.K.’s only bordering country with the E.U. country—the Republic of Ireland. Britain left the E.U. Both sides recognized the importance of an open border to the end of decades of violence in Northern Ireland and agreed to maintain a borderless, free-trade zone with Ireland.

Instead, to protect the E.U.’s single market, there are checks on some goods, such as meat and eggs, entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.

British unionists in Northern Ireland say the new checks have put a burden on businesses and frayed the bonds between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.—seen by some unionists as a threat to their British identity.

Continue reading: Irish Unity: Is Reunification Possible?

Britain’s Conservative government says the Brexit rules also are undermining peace in Northern Ireland, where they have caused a political crisis. Northern Ireland’s main unionist party is blocking the formation of a new power-sharing government in Belfast, saying it won’t take part until the Brexit trade rules are scrapped.

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