European Commission Daily News 13th Ma
Withdrawal Agreement: Commission sends letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breach of its obligations under the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland
The European Commission has sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breaching the substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. This marks the beginning of a formal infringement process against the United Kingdom. It is the second time in the space of six months that the UK government is set to breach international law. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s co-chair of the Joint Committee, 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 Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, as an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, was ratified by both the EU and the UK, has been in force since 1 February 2020 and has legal effects under international law. The UK has been given one month to submit its observations to the letter of formal notice. A press release is available online. (For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500)
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