Brexit: UK's 'unacceptable breach' slammed by MEP
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The European Union has launched fresh legal action against the UK in retaliation over Boris Johnson’s plans to unilaterally scrap parts of Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal. European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said the UK’s move had “no legal or political justification”. Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Ulster, Mr McAllister said: “The path taken by the UK Government is deeply regrettable and concerning.
“The unilateral action constitutes a serious and unacceptable breach of international law.
“This protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is a substantial part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“It was negotiated painstakingly over weeks and months and in the end, we found a solution together and no it’s about working with the existing framework of the protocol.
“The protocol is not the problem.”
As well as new legal action for alleged failures to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol as it stands, Mr Sefcovic confirmed that existing infringement proceedings which had been paused while UK-EU talks took place would now be resumed.
And he indicated further measures could follow if the UK pressed ahead with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which will effectively rip up key parts of the deal signed by Mr Johnson and the EU in 2019.
At a press conference in Brussels, Mr Sefcovic said the UK Government had set out to “unilaterally break international law”.
The plan would mean “breaking an agreement that protects peace and stability in Northern Ireland, an agreement reached together only three years ago”.
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Mr Sefcovic said: “Let there be no doubt: there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement.
“Opening the door to unilaterally changing an international agreement is a breach of international law as well.
“So let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal.”
The dispute could ultimately lead to a trade war, with tariffs or even the suspension of the entire Brexit deal between the UK and European Union.
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Asked about potential further action against the UK, he told reporters in Brussels: “If this draft Bill becomes the law then I cannot exclude anything.
“But we are not there yet and we want to solve this issue as the two partners should, through negotiations, looking for the common ground and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland.”
As a first stage, the EU said it was mounting a “proportionate” response to the Government publishing its Bill on Monday.
The stalled legal action related to the UK’s unilateral extension of protocol grace periods in 2021.
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