The European Union has launched legal action against the UK for making changes to Northern Ireland’s trading arrangements, an EU official said.
The European Commission has accused the UK of breaching EU law concerning the movement of goods and pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the UK moved to unilaterally change parts of the deal to better suit British businesses earlier this month.
Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, who leads the issue for the EU, said: “The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is the only way to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement and to preserve peace and stability, while avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and maintaining the integrity of the EU single market.
“The EU and the UK agreed the Protocol together. We are also bound to implement it together.
“Unilateral decisions and international law violations by the UK defeat its very purpose and undermine trust between us.
“The UK must properly implement it if we are to achieve our objectives. That is why we are launching legal action today.
“I do hope that through the collaborative, pragmatic and constructive spirit that has prevailed in our work so far on implementing the Withdrawal Agreement, we can solve these issues in the Joint Committee without recourse to further legal means.”
The UK has a month to respond to the letter sent from the Commission otherwise it faces a fine to be decided by the European Court of Justice.