Brussels warns that it “will not renegotiate” the Northern Ireland Protocol and is already signaling the possibility of going to court to guarantee compliance with the agreement it had agreed with London.
The European Union deplored today’s decision by the British Government to move forward with legislation to unilaterally amend the Northern Ireland Protocol and admits resuming legal action against London, which it accuses of having compromised the “spirit of cooperation”.
In a statement to the press in Brussels, roughly at the same time that Boris Johnson’s government was presenting its bill in London, the vice-president of the Commission responsible for Interinstitutional Relations (and ‘post-Brexit’), Maros Sefcovic, said that it is with “significant concern” that Brussels takes note of the British decision to proceed with legislation that tramples on “core elements” of the Protocol, “an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement” negotiated at length between the EU and the United Kingdom.
Reiterating that “the European Union will not renegotiate the Protocol”, as this “is unrealistic” – as during the lengthy negotiations with London on the Withdrawal Agreement “no viable alternative solution to this delicate balance was found” and “any renegotiation would simply bring more legal uncertainty to people and businesses in Northern Ireland” – Sefcovic once again regretted this “unilateral action” by London, which, he underlined, “is detrimental to mutual trust”.
According to the Vice-President, “the Commission will now assess the draft UK legislation”, with the usual objective of “ensuring implementation of the Protocol” and the “reaction to the United Kingdom’s unilateral action will reflect that objective and will be proportionate”. Sefcovic has already signaled the possibility of the community executive resorting to justice to guarantee the fulfillment of legally binding commitments.
EU-UK relationship must be based on the full respect of our legally binding commitments.
— Maroš Šefčovič🇪🇺 (@MarosSefcovic) June 13, 2022
“As a first step, the Commission will consider continuing the infringement procedure initiated against the UK Government in March 2021. We had suspended this legal action in September 2021, in a spirit of constructive cooperation to create the space for finding joint solutions, but the UK’s unilateral action goes directly against this spirit,” he said then.
Source: With Agencies