By filing four more legal complaints against the UK government, the EU has underlined its outrage over the support granted by MPs for legislation that would have superseded post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland. The allegations relate to prior failures to carry out the 2019 agreement reached with Boris Johnson, but the EU was propelled to act by the passing through parliament of a law that would renegotiate existing agreements.
The Northern Ireland protocol bill was approved by the House of Commons on Wednesday at its third reading, the decisive vote in the Commons. The bill will now go to the Lords in the fall. The four new court cases, which accuse the EU of failing to implement its VAT, excise, and customs regulations, are on top of the three already pending cases that will be decided by the European court of justice. The EU court has the authority to penalize the UK with fines of up to millions of euros per day, and its decisions might be the precursor to the EU using sanctions provided for in the Brexit agreements.
The Northern Ireland protocol bill’s provisions are described as “illegal” by Maro Efovi, the EU’s Brexit commissioner, who has not ruled out the possibility of placing taxes on British products imported into the EU. The commission said in a statement on Friday that it was launching the legal action in part because of “the continuous passage of the Northern Ireland protocol bill through the UK parliament,” which it claimed “goes directly against” the idea of finding cooperative solutions to existing problems.
The UK government has been given two months to reply to the most recent allegations, and a spokesman stressed that legal action from Brussels was not required. It is unfortunate to see that the EU is pursuing additional legal action, especially with regard to commodities travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain that, by their very nature, pose no threat to the EU single market, the spokesman said.
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A court conflict serves no one’s interests and won’t resolve the issues the people and businesses of Northern Ireland are facing. The suggestions we’ve made in the Northern Ireland protocol bill don’t make the EU any worse off. Johnson and the EU came to an agreement in 2019 that effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the single market and applies EU customs regulations along the Irish Sea to prevent a border on the island of Ireland.
In view of the trade barriers that have resulted from the Brexit deal, the UK government would eliminate checks for companies exporting goods from Great Britain intended for Northern Ireland instead of the EU under the proposed law .The UK government envisions the establishment of a “green lane” with fewer inspections for sellers of products going to Northern Ireland and a “red lane” with existing inspections for goods going to EU nations.
According to EU representatives, there aren’t any significant differences between this idea and those put forth by the European Commission for a “express lane. Although it is anticipated that UK and EU regulatory standards will gradually diverge, the legislation would also give businesses in Great Britain that export to Northern Ireland the option of choosing between them. The single market was at risk, according to EU officials, and smugglers had already been encouraged by the current procedures and the lack of safeguards.
Additional initiatives include altering the regulation of trade disputes so they are settled by impartial arbitration as opposed to the European court of justice. After Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative party and prime minister, Liz Truss, the UK foreign secretary who wrote the law, is the front-runner for the position. As evidence that she makes “difficult judgments,” she has pushed for the Northern Ireland protocol bill.