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EU launches legal action against UK

15 Mar 2021 / brexit Print

EU launches legal action against UK

The European Commission has formally launched legal action against the UK government, accusing it of breaking international law for the second time in six months.

Earlier this month, the UK said it intended to delay the full application of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland — agreed as part of the Brexit negotiations — for six months.

The delays related to the movement of goods, and pet travel from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

'Clear departure'

The commission said the UK had committed publicly to the proper implementation of the protocol at a meeting on 24 February of the Joint Committee, which was set up to oversee the implementation of the protocol.

“The UK resorted to this unilateral action without any discussion or consultation with the EU side in the bodies established by the Withdrawal Agreement,” the commission said.

It added that this represented “a clear departure from the constructive approach that had prevailed up until this point”.

The commission said the latest UK move had undermined the trust that had been rebuilt late last year following a controversy over the UK Internal Market Bill, which the EU also saw as a breach of international law.

Trust undermined

As well as the commission statement, the EU body’s vice-president Maroš Šefčovič has written to David Frost, the UK's co-chair of the Joint Committee, calling on the UK government to refrain from putting its plans into practice, and to enter talks aimed at reaching a mutually agreed solution.

The commission has given the UK a month to submit its observations to the letter of formal notice that has initiated the process.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland