Brexit – The EU Uses All Available Tools
The EU intends to use every means at its disposal to force the UK to strictly implement the Brexit agreement. A few days ago, before meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the implementation of the Brexit agreement, the President of the European Council said that the EU would use all the means at its disposal to defend its interests. Charles Michel told a press conference ahead of the G7 summit that the UK not abiding by the agreement it had signed on Northern Ireland was violating the rule of law and that we would have to use the available means to defend EU interests.
Implicit Threat of UK Economic Sanctions
Political experts believe that the statement by Charles Michel and Von der Layen was an implicit threat to use trade sanctions against the UK if the country keeps insisting on implementing the controversial protocol regarding Northern Ireland. The EU has repeatedly stated that the UK must live up to its commitments, and that breach could have dire consequences.
The EU Seeks Full UK Adherence to its Commitments
The Northern Ireland Protocol exempts the examination of goods along the Irish border which should have been carried out since the start of the new relations between the UK and the EU on 1 January. This Protocol is one of the provisions of the Brexit agreement. Under an agreement known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, no new checks would be needed at the Irish border as new UK-EU relations begin, following a Brexit agreement on 1 January 2021. The UK wants to suspend or change some of the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was negotiated about a year ago by the Johnson government. The UK government now says the protocol is more harmful to the UK than expected.
Brexit Commitments at Any Cost!
The Brexit deal, signed between the UK and the EU, contains specific provisions that allow either party to suspend certain negotiated trade rights if the other party deviates from its obligations. The issue of Northern Ireland continues to cast a shadow over Brexit.
The UK has pledged some customs inspections to move goods between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, but London has postponed these inspections. At the same time, with the delaying of the implementation of Brexit, the EU has threatened that sanctions could be imposed if the UK and the EU fail to reach an agreement.
Request of the President of the European Commission from the UK
Ursula von der Leyen called on the UK to comply with the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol. “We agreed with Great Britain that this protocol is the only possible solution to prevent the establishment of a hard border in Northern Ireland,” she said. She added: “We have been discussing this for years and we have found this to be the only possible solution”.
In this regard, an agreement has been reached, which is an agreement of choice. “This agreement has been signed by both sides and now it is important that we implement it.” She said there were options in the Brexit agreement that the EU might consider finding a solution. These options include referring trade disputes to arbitration, which could lead to economic sanctions against the UK, or punitive tariffs on imports from the UK.
Northern Ireland Protocol Causes Tensions Between EU and UK
Tensions in Northern Ireland have risen amid delays in implementing Brexit. The Northern Ireland Protocol was adopted to guarantee free trade between the Republic of Ireland (which remains a member of the EU) and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). Von der Leyen said the EU’s first goal is to fully implement the Brexit deal and that it is determined to do everything possible to maintain peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is important that there is deep respect for this protocol and we maintain it, she said.
Legal Action Against the UK after Brexit
After an 11-month transition period, the UK finally withdrew from the customs union and the European Single Market on 1 January 2021. But two months after the withdrawal, the EU announced that it had taken legal action against the UK for Brexit Violations.
The UK has announced that it has unilaterally postponed the start of some customs inspections in Northern Ireland, following two legal proceedings against it. Brussels believes that the UK has thus violated the bilateral agreement which was signed in late 2019. The UK, however, has said it intends to delay the start of customs inspections in Northern Ireland to give companies more time to comply with the new regulations in the post-Brexit period.
In a referendum held in 2016, the British people voted in favour of their country’s withdrawal from the EU. The UK government was able to reach an agreement with Brussels earlier this year after much wrangling. The UK and the EU are bordered by the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland is part of the UK and the Republic of Ireland is a member of the EU. A significant dispute between London and Brussels in the Brexit negotiations was over the status of this common border. Tensions between the UK and the EU have risen over various issues since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and are taking on new dimensions every day, with no positive outlook on the horizon any time soon.