The European Commission launched an infringement act against the United Kingdom on Monday for failure to comply with the negotiated agreement to avoid a traumatic Brexit. These proceedings will be launched against London for the second time in six months if it believes it is in breach of the UK’s terms of separation.
Brussels will send the formal notice this Monday opening the process and which the UK could ultimately take to the Court of Justice of the European Union if the parties disagree before resolving the dispute.
The EU executive is therefore reacting to the decision of Boris Johnson’s government to unilaterally extend the “grace period” for customs controls on food or agricultural products arriving in Northern Ireland to October 1, contrary to the provisions of the London-Brussels agreement Protocol to protect the Good Friday Peace Accords in Ulster.
The European Union considers the UK’s actions “unacceptable” and insists, as it did on the previous occasion, that the divorce treaty is a treaty that violates international law.
This is why the Commission has decided to launch the infringement procedure, which in its first phase gives the UK authorities one month to respond to the request for clarification and “take immediate corrective action to restore compliance with the Protocol”.
If the differences are not resolved on that initial contact, the community executive would take the next step, which includes a reasoned opinion to insist on the changes, and give the British a similar response time.
In the third and final instance, the matter will be taken to the Court of Justice of the European Union without prior agreement, although Community sources insist that the European side favor a “dialogue solution” that arrives before the case is brought up to the European judiciary becomes .
The same sources recall that while the UK is already a third country, the European judiciary still has the power to rule on a possible breach of the agreement as it is part of the instruments provided for in the agreement itself.
In parallel to the legal action, Brussels has decided to send a “political” message to London through a letter from the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of monitoring compliance with the agreements with the United Kingdom, Maros Sefcovic, in calling on the Johnson administration to “correct” rather than implement the rules that violate the Covenant.
In the text sent to the minister responsible for monitoring Brexit, David Frost, Sefcovic criticizes that the unilateral measures constitute a “breach of the obligation to act in good faith” in Article 5 of the Withdrawal Treaty and calls on his counterparts to close the talks within the contract to continue the framework of the Joint Committee to seek “friendly solutions” by the end of March.
“Together we have agreed on the protocol as the only way to protect the Good Friday Agreement. And together we are obliged to adhere to it,” said Sefcovic in a statement in which he also warned that breaking unilaterally would also “undermine trust.” in Great Britain.