Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland: Commission launches four new infringement procedures against the UK

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The European Commission has today launched four new infringement procedures against the United Kingdom for not complying with significant parts of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. They come in addition to the infringement procedures launched on 15 June 2022.

Despite repeated calls by the European Parliament, the 27 EU Member States and the European Commission to implement the Protocol, the UK government has failed to do so.

In a spirit of constructive cooperation, the Commission refrained from launching certain infringement procedures for over a year to create the space to look for joint solutions with the UK. However, the UK’s unwillingness to engage in meaningful discussion since last February and the continued passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through the UK Parliament go directly against this spirit.

The aim of these infringement procedures is to secure compliance with the Protocol in a number of key areas. This compliance is essential for Northern Ireland to continue to benefit from its privileged access to the European Single Market, and is necessary to protect the health, security and safety of EU citizens as well as the integrity of the Single Market.

Background

The European Union wishes to have a positive and stable relationship with the United Kingdom. This relationship must be based on the full respect of the legally binding commitments that the two sides have made to one another, based on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Both parties negotiated, agreed and ratified these agreements.

After long and intensive discussions between the EU and the UK, the Protocol is the best solution found jointly to reconcile the challenges created by Brexit, and by the type of Brexit chosen by the UK government. The Protocol is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement. It avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the 1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and ensures the integrity of the EU’s Single Market.

The EU has shown understanding for the practical difficulties of implementing the Protocol, demonstrating that solutions can be found within its framework.

source : https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/sk/ip_22_4663

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