Britain to defy EU by scrapping Northern Ireland trade rules

Post-Brexit trade: the EU believes that any unilateral change could breach international law. (Case)


Britain will on Monday propose to override rules that govern post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland, stoking tensions with the European Union that have simmered since the protocol came into force in 2021.

When Britain left the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a deal that effectively kept Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market and customs union to preserve the open border with the EU. Ireland Specified in the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

It imposes customs controls between the province and the rest of the UK, which pro-British communities in Northern Ireland say is eroding their place in the UK.

Johnson said the protocol’s implementation had hurt trade in the UK and threatened political stability in Northern Ireland.

The legislation will be presented to parliament by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Brussels believes that any unilateral change could violate international law. It could respond by taking legal action and imposing countermeasures, such as tariffs.

UK Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis insisted on Sunday that the legislation was within the law.

He declined to say how the protocol would be changed, but said the government would establish the legal basis for the bill.

He is expected to propose a ‘green channel’ for goods transported from Britain to Northern Ireland, as well as scrapping rules that prevent the province from receiving tax relief and ending the Court’s role European Court of Justice as sole arbiter, according to reports. .

The plan will be a test of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s authority after he was nearly removed from office last week when four in ten of his lawmakers opposed him in a confidence vote.

However, this will be seen by the EU as an inflammatory move that violates an international treaty.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said in May that Brussels would respond with all measures at its disposal.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said there will be no US-UK trade deal if London rolls back the protocol.

Irish Sinn Fein, the nationalist party that won a historic victory in an election in Northern Ireland last month, said Britain would “undoubtedly” break the law by imposing unilateral changes to the protocol.

“(Britain) has sought a destructive course and is now proposing to introduce legislation which will undoubtedly breach international law,” Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald told Sky News.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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