The EU has officially taken legal action against the UK, claiming that Boris Johnson violated international law for implementing Brexit in Northern Ireland

It is the second time in six months that Brussels has initiated infringement proceedings against Britain over Brexit after the British Prime Minister threatened last year that part of the take-back agreement would be suspended by the Single Market Act

Ultimately, the lawsuit could go to the European Court of Justice and lead to fines and trade sanctions

The EU has accused the UK, following its unilateral decision two weeks ago, of delaying implementation of part of the Northern Ireland Protocol on the control of goods shipped from the UK to the region, against the provisions of Treu and having violated belief in the take-back agreement

The formal notice of legal action was issued with a cover letter from the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, to the new Brexit Minister David Frost

It calls on the UK to revise its decision of March 3 March to extend, “correct and not put into practice” the grace period for inspections of supermarket goods crossing the Irish Sea

An EU official said: “The UK needs to stop acting unilaterally and stop breaking the rules it has not joined”

The UK has one month to submit its comments as part of the formal notice. If consultations are not conducted in good faith, the EU can set up a dispute settlement mechanism which, if not resolved, “will ultimately result in financial impositions Sanctions “or the suspension of the take-back agreement in all aspects that exclude the agreement on the EU citizens

Šefčovič said: “Unilateral decisions and violations of UK international law undermine its intended purpose and undermine trust between us”

The letter alleges that “violations of essential provisions of EU law relating to the movement of goods and travel with pets have been made applicable under the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland”

She relies on Article 12 (4) of the Northern Ireland Protocol and on the broader provisions on the movement of goods under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

The EU also accuses the UK of breaching the duty of good faith under Article 5 of the Take Back Agreement

The EU hopes that its two-pronged legal and political approach will serve as the carrot and stick to advance the Dec. Resolve Northern Ireland review of supermarket goods, plants and packages logs introduced in Northern Ireland on January 1st

EU sources hope the legal action will register “our dissatisfaction” with the unilateral decision, but hope the matter can be resolved through further negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol

“The EU reacts to a violation of international law with the rules set out in the agreement

“We hope that the legal way will not be necessary. This is an issue we hope that we can find an amicable common solution “

“What we need to implement the protocol is mutual trust and this kind of unilateral action that we are seeing from the UK does not create trust,” said the EU official

EU sources said that while hoping to “find a mutually agreeable joint solution,” they said after David Frost’s announcement on Jan. March no choice but to abandon the Northern Ireland Protocol inspection schedule

It had been “crystal clear” to both sides that the protocol would “include controls on some goods moving east and west from the UK to NI” and that it had complied with the UK’s request for grace period for checks last December

An official said that in exchange for a grace period agreement, the EU asked the UK to provide a “roadmap” detailing the implementation of the NI Protocol, but which was never presented by London

This roadmap was intended to provide Brussels with a comprehensive plan for implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol and the milestones that could be achieved through technical work and grace time behind the scenes

The EU hopes the dispute can now be resolved through the Northern Ireland Technical Committee, which is part of the joint UK-EU committee

The letter from Šefčovič to Lord Frost indicated that Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis had announced that the UK would extend the grace period for inspecting supermarket food until October “without discussion or consultation with the EU” Later that day, in breach of the Brexit deal, she informed traders that they could continue to send goods of animal origin, food, and animal feed and plant-based products from the UK to NI without the need for paperwork such as health certificates

Grace

World News – UK – The EU is taking legal action over UK plans to extend the Brexit grace period

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/mar/15/eu-launch-legal-action-uk-plan-extend-brexit-grace-period