UK To Continue Delaying Customs Checks On Goods Moving From Britain To The EU

UK To Continue Delaying Customs Checks On Goods Moving From Britain To The EU

By Tony O’Reilly-

The UK has told the EU it will continue delaying customs checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, despite legal action from Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The EU has accused the Uk of failing to implement the protocol which in effect keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods, to avoid a new hard border with the Irish Republic after Brexit.

Despite normal politics being paused after the Queen’s death last week, the UK responded ahead of the EU’s deadline of the end of Thursday.

The EU has brought seven lawsuits accusing the UK of failing to comply with the Northern Ireland protocol – but in responses today the government refused to budge.

The UK said it would continue a controversial grace period, it is understood, leaving the European authority contemplating further legal action.

Full checks on farm produce and other goods entering from Great Britain will continue to be suspended – an action Europe says is illegal and unjustified.

A series of lawsuits over what it sees as the UK’s failure to comply with checks on the movement of farm produce from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The EU has also started legal action over legislation that would allow the UK to alter the protocol, introduced by Liz Truss when she was foreign secretary.

The EU is particularly angry about the UK’s threat to override parts of the protocol with new legislation – which the bloc argues would break international law.

However, the UK government argues “grace periods” delaying full customs checks should remain in place. There has been speculation that PM Liz Truss will discuss the matter with her Irish counterpart Micheal Martin on the margins of the Queen’s funeral.

European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said: “I can confirm we have received a reply from the UK. We will now analyse the reply before deciding on the next steps.”

The Commission could refer the case to the European Court of Justice, but its initial reaction is expected to be muted.

The new government’s desires are less obvious, although Prime Minister Liz Truss is very familiar with the row.

As foreign secretary she set in train a bill that could see Britain override parts of the protocol; something the EU sees as a clear and blatant breach of a mutually agreed treaty.

EU diplomats believe Ms Truss’s approach to the protocol was, at least in part, designed to woo the right wing of her party when a leadership contest loomed.

With talk of a phone call or meeting between EU chief, Ursula von der Leyen and Ms Truss, maybe that question will be answered before long.

They will both attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, but a more likely opportunity for a political discussion could be next week’s UN General Assembly in New York.

The protocol was part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, agreed between the UK and the EU in December 2019.

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