EU launches legal action against UK over post-Brexit changes | Your money


BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is launching legal action against the United Kingdom in response to unilateral moves to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol into the post-Brexit deal between the two sides, it said. Wednesday the executive branch of the bloc.

The proposed UK bill aims to remove customs checks on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. It will override parts of the trade treaty 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 single goods market.

The 27-nation bloc will relaunch infringement proceedings launched against the UK government last year after Britain unilaterally extended a grace period that applies to trade on the island of Ireland.

The action had been suspended in September 2021 while the two parties tried to find a common solution. In addition, the EU will launch new actions against the UK for an apparent failure to carry out the necessary checks under EU rules and to provide statistical data on trade as required by the protocol.

In the final stages of infringement proceedings, which can last for months, the European Commission can refer such cases to the highest court in the bloc. The European Court of Justice has jurisdiction to adjudicate on matters of EU law in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a border with an EU country, the Republic of Ireland. When Britain left the EU and its borderless free trade area, both sides agreed to keep the Irish land border free of customs posts and other checks, 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 single market, checks are carried out on certain goods, such as meat and eggs, entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

British trade unionists in Northern Ireland say the new controls have placed a burden on businesses and frayed ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – seen by some trade unionists as a threat to their British identity.

Britain’s Conservative government says the Brexit rules are also 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 will not participate until Brexit trade rules are scrapped.

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