The European Commission has sent “a letter of formal notice” for having violated the protocol specific to the island of Ireland, contained in the withdrawal treaty signed at the end of 2019.
Lhe European Commission on Monday gave notice to the United Kingdom against the latter’s postponement, until 1 October, of certain controversial checks on the arrival of agri-food goods and pets in Northern Ireland since October 1. island of Great Britain.
After the post-Brexit transition period which ended on December 31, the EU has granted London a “grace period” until March 31 to introduce these controls, in order to allow authorities and businesses to s ” adapt to new post-Brexit arrangements.
But the new regime is denounced as a border even within the United Kingdom by the unionists of the DUP, who demand its outright abandonment. On the contrary, the EU considers that the protocol it concluded with London on Northern Ireland is able to preserve the Good Friday peace agreements by avoiding a border between the latter, a British province, and Ireland, member of the EU.
Earlier this month, London unilaterally extended the grace period by six months, after asking the Union for more flexibility. But the latter is still waiting for a roadmap from the United Kingdom on the implementation of the Northern Irish protocol, to assess how much flexibility we are really talking about.
Judging that London was dragging its feet, the EU decided to toughen up the tone. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to London on Monday for violating the protocol. This step is the first of the EU infringement procedure, which can lead to a conviction before the European Justice (CJEU). London has one month to respond to the letter of formal notice.
But dialogue remains the preferred option. Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of the joint partnership with the British to oversee the new trade relationship, also sent a political letter to his British counterpart David Frost calling for a solution to be found within the joint committee. Otherwise, the EU could open a second procedure, in dispute settlement, which could lead to arbitration or even the imposition of sanctions.