The special rules of the Brexit agreement on border controls still contain conflicts. The British government is unilaterally expanding temporary solutions for freight traffic. Is that a breach of contract?
Brussels (AP) – In the dispute over Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the European Union is considering legal action against Great Britain.
A conversation between Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission and British Brexit Commissioner David Frost, has not resulted in a rapprochement, a spokesman for the committee said on Thursday. “We are now examining the next steps.” The legal instrument would be the arbitration procedure provided for in the Brexit treaty.
On Wednesday, the British government unilaterally extended the transitional food delivery rules for the British province of Northern Ireland until October, sparking strong protests from the European Commission. Sefcovic spoke of a violation of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol and held a crisis talk with Frost. This defended London’s decision as “temporary technical steps” even afterwards.
However, the background to this is an unresolved political issue of principle. The EU Withdrawal Treaty provides for special EU internal market rules for the British province of Northern Ireland, eliminating the need for border controls with the EU state of Ireland on the common island. This creates a goods border with other parts of the UK – imports must be controlled.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has always downplayed this and ruled out obstruction. A grace period of several months with reduced checks has been agreed with Brussels. However, many companies complain about difficulties in trade between the UK and Northern Ireland. Sometimes the supermarket shelves remained empty.
The first transition phase should end at the end of March. According to this information, suppliers of animal products must hold health certificates for deliveries from the UK to Northern Ireland. Frost justified the unilateral extension with the “often disproportionate consequences” of some aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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