#AceNewsReport – Mar.16: The protocol is the part of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland and has led to the creation of a new trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Brexit: EU to begin legal action over alleged NI Protocol breach: ‘The European Commission’s vice president said he hopes the issue can be resolved without further legal action’ as the EU has begun legal action against the UK over its alleged breach of the NI Protocol as the EU says UK grace period extension breaches law
1 hour ago
By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor
It could lead to the UK having to defend its actions at the European Court of Justice.
Maroš Šefčovič said the EU’s preference is for “collaborative, pragmatic and constructive” political discussions.
Earlier this month the UK government changed how the protocol is being implemented without EU agreement.
It delayed the introduction of new sea border checks on food, parcels and pets.
It also moved unilaterally to ease the trade in horticultural products across from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
The European Commission has sent a letter of formal notice to the UK saying these actions breach the substantive provisions of the protocol as well as the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement.
It has asked the UK to respond within a month before it decides on further legal steps.
Mr Šefčovič has separately sent a “political letter” to David Frost, the UK minister in charge of Brexit.
It calls for the UK to enter into good faith consultations in the Joint Committee, the body which oversees the protocol, with the aim of reaching a mutually agreed solution by the end of this month.
Mr Šefčovič said: “The EU and the UK agreed the protocol together. We are also bound to implement it together.
“Unilateral decisions and international law violations by the UK defeat its very purpose and undermine trust between us. The UK must properly implement it if we are to achieve our objectives.”
Speaking earlier the prime minister said he actions taken by the UK were “temporary and technical measures that we think are very sensible”.
Asked about it on a visit to Coventry today the prime minister said: “What I would say to our friends in Brussels is the protocol is there to uphold and guarantee, to buttress the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process.”
He said it has always been “very important the wishes and consent of both communities in Northern Ireland are properly reflected in in the outcome and that it should guarantee of trade and movement not just north/south but east/west as well”.
He added that the UK looked “forward to our discusses with our EU friends and see where we get to”.
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
The Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Brexit deal which prevents a hardening of the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
It does that by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods.
That has created a new trade border with Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Unionists oppose the protocol, arguing that it has damaged internal trade from GB to NI and poses a risk to the future of the UK union.
But anti-Brexit parties in NI say that it must be implemented in full, and that issues should be worked out through joint UK-EU processes.
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Mar.16: 2021:
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