The European Commission is launching four court cases against the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol

The European Commission launched four new court cases against Britain on Friday after the House of Commons passed legislation scrapping some of the rules governing Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade deals.

The commission, which oversees EU-UK relations, said the UK’s unwillingness to engage in meaningful discussions on the protocol that governs those trade deals and the passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol bill through the House of Commons undermines the spirit of cooperation. Read the full story

This brings to seven the number of “infringement procedures” the European Commission has opened over Britain’s failure to respect the Northern Ireland trade aspects of the mutually agreed Brexit divorce deal.

The proceedings could result in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposing fines, although that likely won’t be the case in at least a year. The Commission agreed to launch further procedures to protect the EU’s internal market from British breaches of the protocol.

Britain said the EU action was “disappointing”.

“Litigation is in nobody’s interest and will not solve the problems of people and businesses in Northern Ireland. The EU is not made worse off by the proposals we have made in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill,” a government spokesman said.

London has proposed removing some controls on goods from the rest of the UK entering the British countryside and has questioned the role of the ECJ in deciding parts of the post-Brexit settlement agreed between the EU and the UK. Read the full story

The four new court cases are not related to Britain’s new plans, but to allegations of failure to implement the protocol.

Northern Ireland is in the EU’s single market for goods, which means imports from the rest of the UK are subject to customs declarations and sometimes require inspections upon arrival.

The deal was struck to avoid reintroducing border controls between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, but has inflamed pro-British union parties by effectively creating a border in the Irish Sea.

The Commission has accused the UK of failing to comply with customs rules on goods entering the UK from Northern Ireland, of failing to implement EU rules on excise duties in general and on alcohol and of failing to implement EU rules on VAT for e-commerce.

The Commission has given the UK two months to respond. The European Commission is launching four court cases against the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol

Fry Electronics Team

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