First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

EU sues Britain again as N. Ireland bill erodes trust

Newsdeck

Brexit

EU sues Britain again as N. Ireland bill erodes trust

An EU flag flies outside the UK parliament in London, Britain, 15 June 2022. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN
By Reuters
22 Jul 2022 0

BRUSSELS, July 22 (Reuters) - The European Commission launched four new legal procedures against Britain on Friday after the British parliament's lower house cleared a bill to scrap some of the rules governing post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The Commission, which oversees EU-UK relations, said Britain’s unwillingness to engage in meaningful discussions on the protocol governing those trading arrangements and the House of Commons’ passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol bill undermined a spirit of cooperation.

It brings to seven the number of “infringement procedures” the European Commission has launched over what it sees as Britain’s failure to respect Northern Ireland trade aspects of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by both sides.

The procedures could result in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposing fines, although this would likely not happen for at least a year. The Commission said it stood ready to launch further procedures to protect the EU single market from British violations of the protocol.

Britain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

London has proposed scrapping some checks on goods from the rest of the United Kingdom arriving in the British province and challenged the role of the ECJ to decide on parts of the post-Brexit arrangement agreed by the EU and Britain.

The four new legal procedures do not relate to Britain’s new plans, but to the accusation that Britain has not implemented the protocol.

Northern Ireland is in the EU single market for goods, meaning imports from the rest of the United Kingdom are subject to customs declarations and sometimes require checks on their arrival.

The arrangement was set to avoid reinstating border controls between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, but has inflamed pro-British unionist parties by effectively creating a border in the Irish Sea.

The Commission has charged Britain with failing to comply with customs requirements for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Britain, not transposing EU rules on excise duties in general and for alcohol and not implementing EU rules on sales tax for e-commerce.

The Commission has given Britain two months to respond.

By Philip Blenkinsop

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop;; editing by John Chalmers)

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted