UPDATED: EU to take legal action over UK move to change terms of Northern Ireland protocol

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Irish national broadcaster RTE is reporting that the European Union will take legal action today against the UK over its unilateral move to change the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The European Commission will issue legal proceedings through two letters to the British government, following its decision on 3 March to unilaterally extend grace periods which eased the full implementation of the protocol. 

There will be a letter of formal notice, triggering an infringement procedure due to an alleged breach of EU law, and what sources describe as a second “political” letter, alleging a breach of the good faith provisions of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. 

The former letter could result in the UK being taken to the European Court of Justice, while the latter potentially marks the beginning of an arbitration process under the dispute settlement mechanism within the Withdrawal Agreement. 

The UK has denied its actions are unlawful. 

Britain will respond to letters from the European Union notifying London of the beginning of legal action once it has received them, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

“We haven’t received formal notification by the EU. When we receive the letter from the EU we will obviously consider the contents and respond in due course,” the spokesman told reporters.

Main Photo: EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET / POOL

Read more via RTE

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