Four more EU criminal cases against London over Northern Ireland

Four more EU criminal cases against London over Northern Ireland

Photo: ANP

The European Union is initiating four more criminal cases against the United Kingdom for violating the agreements on Northern Ireland. The legal action can take the UK government to European courts and incur heavy fines.

The government in London made plans on its own to change the so-called Protocol for Northern Ireland. London complains that this complicates trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and means that the people of Northern Ireland must continue to follow Brussels’ rules.

These agreements aim to ensure that there is no hard border post-Brexit between Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which is a member of the European Union. Such a frontier could jeopardize the expensive peace between the pro-Ireland Catholics and the pro-British Protestants on the island.

She says the European Commission waited a year before taking legal action. In this way, the Executive Council of the European Union hoped to make room and time to work together. Brussels says the UK hasn’t really wanted to get into the conversation for a year and a half, and is choosing a collision course.

The four new allegations of infringement are on top of the three the commission already passed in June. One complaint relates to inadequate customs controls on exports of goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom. It will provide opportunities for smugglers. Brussels also accuses London of not adopting European value-added tax rules for e-commerce. The same applies to the rules of excise tax, in particular those relating to alcoholic beverages.

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The British government has to answer within two months how it wants to meet the European Union. Otherwise, a new step can follow.

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