EU takes legal action over UK's post-Brexit deal change

EU takes legal action over UKs post-Brexit deal change

London: The European Union (EU) on Wednesday set the UK a two-month deadline to respond to legal action as it challenged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to override parts of the Brexit agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

The UK government had tabled a new Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in Parliament earlier this week, which Britain insists is aimed at fixing parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol and denies any potential breach of international law.

The bill is aimed at changing trade, tax and governance arrangements in the 2019 deal but the EU believes the unilateral move is illegal.

"If the UK doesn't reply within two months, we may take them to the court of justice," said Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission.

"Let there be no doubt: there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement. This is illegal. The UK bill is extremely damaging to mutual trust and respect between the EU and the UK. It has created deep uncertainty and casts a shadow over our international cooperation," he said.

The Commission confirmed that Brussels will also resume legal proceedings against the UK, which it suspended in September last year, for breaching the EU withdrawal treaty agreed in 2020.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a special arrangement that keeps Northern Ireland in the EU's Single Market for goods, avoiding a hard border between the UK territory and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member-state.

The arrangement ensured free trade could continue across the Irish land border, which is a sensitive issue because of the history of conflict in Northern Ireland.

This Bill will uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and support political stability in Northern Ireland, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told the House of Commons on Monday.

It will end the untenable situation where people in Northern Ireland are treated differently to the rest of the United Kingdom, protect the supremacy of our courts and our territorial integrity. This is a reasonable, practical solution to the problems facing Northern Ireland, she said.

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