EU to release legal action over UK plan to extend Brexit grace duration

The EU is to introduce legal action versus the UK after the government unilaterally chose to postpone the execution of parts of the special Brexit plans for Northern Ireland.

A letter alerting the British federal government of violation proceedings is expected to be provided at around midday on Monday The European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič signified 10 days ago that the action would be taken.

It comes 2 months after the UK sealed its Brexit trade offer and less than 14 months after the finalizing of the broader withdrawal arrangement, of which the Northern Ireland protocol belongs.

The EU has two legal opportunities available to it. It could release proceedings under the withdrawal arrangement, which would result in a case in the European court of justice (ECJ). This would run the risk of causing further damage to the vulnerable political relationship between the two sides, given the symbolism of the ECJ to Brexiters in the Tory celebration who defended the fastest, hardest exit possible from the EU.

Sources in the EU confirmed that proceedings might likewise be introduced under the disagreement systems in the trade and cooperation arrangement sealed on Christmas Eve. This would take the conflict to an arbitration panel, which might result in a quicker and more politically inspired service.

Disagreements treatments brought under the trade offer can enable retaliatory steps to be prompted by either side, including restrictions on market gain access to if either side continues to breach the offer.

Under this situation, the UK might face trade sanctions if it continued with its unilateral position after an arbitration panel decision in the EU’s favour.

The row was activated a week after David Frost, who negotiated the trade deal, took over from Michael Gove as the UK chair of the EU-UK joint committee charged with executing and implementing the withdrawal contract.

Šefčovič said Lord Frost’s decision to unilaterally extend grace durations for checks on items crossing the Irish Sea into Northern Ireland from March up until October was an offense of the Northern Ireland protocol.

The UK’s relocation came as a shock to the EU and to Irish political leaders as there had seemed progress on the row over checks on grocery store goods, parcels and plants during a conference of the joint committee led by Šefčovič and Gove the week before.

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