The European Union is initiating legal action against the United Kingdom, because the country wants to unilaterally modify the Brexit agreements. It is about agreements relating to the position of Northern Ireland. The European Commission announced this on Wednesday. The legal action can take the UK government to European courts and result in heavy fines.
The government in London wants to get rid of the so-called Protocol for Northern Ireland, which was intended to ensure that after Brexit there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and EU member Ireland.
It could jeopardize the expensive peace between the pro-Ireland Catholics and the pro-British Protestants on the island.
But this protocol complicates trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and ensures that the people of Northern Ireland continue to comply with Brussels’ rules, says London.
The British came up with a new law
This is why the British government introduced a new law last week. Among other things, this states that companies that make products for Northern Ireland can decide for themselves whether they adhere to UK or EU rules. The government in London also wants to be able to offer businesses in Northern Ireland the same tax cuts as in the rest of the UK.
This is against a sore leg in Brussels. So the EU is resuming the so-called encroachment procedure on the British that it closed last year and taking the next step. The European Commission wanted a possible amicable solution with last year’s break, but London itself crossed that line, according to Brussels.
If the British government does not meet with the European Union within two months, it can go to the European Court of Justice.
Evidence of smuggling due to weak controls
The European Union is also launching two new measures. One relates to the fact that the UK, according to Brussels, does not carry out the necessary checks on certain goods. The other has to do with London’s refusal to provide figures on trade with Northern Ireland.
Border control cannot suffer further from the British slowdown, as there is already plenty of evidence of electronics and cigarette smuggling, EU sources say.
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