EU warns of retaliation if UK makes unilateral changes to Northern Ireland Protocol

EU warns of retaliation if UK makes unilateral changes to Northern Ireland Protocol

The European Commission has warned of possible retaliation after the UK government formally announced plans to make unilateral changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol through legislation.

In a statement, the UK’s foreign secretary Liz Truss said the EU’s proposals after six months of negotiations had failed to address the government’s “fundamental concerns”.

The EU has proposed changes to the implementation of the agreement, such as the introduction of an express lane for goods with reduced and simplified customs procedures, but has ruled out changes to the text of the agreement.

“That is why I am announcing our intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes to the Protocol,” Ms Truss said yesterday.

“Our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU. In parallel with the legislation being introduced, we remain open to further talks if we can achieve the same outcome through negotiated settlement.”

Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice-president for interinstitutional relations, said the UK’s announcement “raises significant concerns” and warned that “unilateral actions contradicting an international agreement are not acceptable”.

He added: “Should the UK decide to move ahead with a bill disapplying constitutive elements of the Protocol as announced today by the UK government, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.

“Our overarching objective is to find joint solutions within the framework of the Protocol. That is the way to ensure legal certainty and predictability for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

“With political will and commitment, practical issues arising from the implementation of the Protocol in Northern Ireland can be resolved. The European Commission stands ready to continue playing its part, as it has from the outset.”

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