The European Commission (EC) on Monday announced that it has launched two operations against the United Kingdom, accusing London of violating tariffs on Northern Ireland. Brussels gave the British a month to send their comments.
Divorce becomes a legal battle. The European Commission announced on Monday 15 March that it had launched two procedures to violate the Brexit agreement against the United Kingdom, following London’s decision to unilaterally postpone some tariffs on Northern Ireland.
The British government announced on March 3 a six-month postponement of some controversial checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the island of Great Britain – until October 1.
The commission, which has already officially protested, said in a statement that it had sent a “formal notice” to London for violating the specific code of conduct for the island of Ireland, which was included in the currency agreement signed at the end of 2019. , Said in a press release.
This protocol aims to protect the single European market, while avoiding the return of a border and customs control on the island, which is shared between the British territory of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
Sending this letter is the first step in a “violation procedure” that may end in a lengthy process before the European Union (CJEU) Court, which may impose a fine or, from time to time, a fine.
Brussels gave the UK a month to send in its comments.
On the other hand, the commission’s deputy chairman, Maros Sefkovic, addressed a “political letter” to David Frost, who was responsible for relations with Brussels within the British government, and called on the United Kingdom to reverse the announcement.
This letter condemns the failure to respect the obligation of good faith provided by the withdrawal agreement. Maros Shefkovic is asking London to engage in bilateral consultations with Brussels “with the aim of finding a mutually agreed solution by the end of the month.”
“The EU and the UK have agreed on the (Northern Ireland specific) protocol. We are committed to implementing it together. Unilateral decisions and violations of international law go against the UK’s purpose (protocol) and undermine trust,” Moros Shefkovic said.
“This is the second time in six months that the British government is preparing to violate international law,” a European official said.
Last year, Boris Johnson’s government threatened to pass a bill that would violate Northern Ireland’s ethics before facing European protests. The episode damaged the latter’s confidence.
The procedure, which began on Monday, was “not welcome, but the UK government’s approach is not an alternative to the EU. Unilaterally changing the way the protocol is implemented is a violation of the agreement,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Gowney commented.
The British government continues to claim that it has not violated the Brexit agreement by temporarily waiving tariffs. “These types of operations have many precedents and are common to other international trade agreements,” Johnson said in early March.
London said it had “not received any official notification from the European Union”. “When we receive a letter from the EU, we will definitely read its contents and respond in due course,” a government spokesman said.
In a sign of growing excitement in Brussels, the European Parliament on Thursday set a date for ratifying the post-Brexit trade agreement. “If the UK does not respect the previous agreement (withdrawal agreement), what does it mean to recognize something at the table,” AFP European, Philip Lambert, co-chair of the Green Committee in Parliament, said.
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