Brussels vows to ‘bring the UK to compliance’ in escalation of plans to launch trade war over Northern Ireland Protocol
Brussels has vowed to ‘bring the UK to compliance’ over Brexit as it ramps up plans to launch a trade war.
European Commissioners will gather today to draw up plans for fresh legal action against the UK after the publication of the Government’s proposals to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
In a private briefing for MEPs yesterday, Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said it was ‘clear that the UK broke the law’ and suggested it should be punished.
A source said he told MEPs that international law will become ‘a jungle’ if the UK is allowed to override parts of the Brexit deal without consequences.
‘We need to bring the UK to compliance,’ he said. ‘And I hope our measures lead us there.’
In a private briefing for MEPs yesterday, Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic (pictured) said it was ‘clear that the UK broke the law’ and suggested it should be punished
MEPs were told that Britain is likely to face three separate legal proceedings from Brussels over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
But Mr Sefcovic insisted the EU was ‘not motivated by ideology’ and confirmed that Brussels would bring forward new proposals for easing customs checks in Northern Ireland, possibly as soon as today.
Mr Sefcovic said this week the entire basis of the Brexit trade deal will be undermined if the Protocol is overridden.
But Tory MPs said it should be the EU in the dock for its heavy-handed implementation of post-Brexit trade checks in NI that have been blamed for fuelling political tensions in the Province.
Loyalist protests in Belfast against the checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea
Former Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood said it was ‘absurd’ that the UK was being threatened with legal action for defending the Protocol.
‘Why don’t they own up to the way they have broken the law by undermining the Good Friday Agreement?’ he said.
‘They are the lawbreakers, not the UK.’
The Government’s proposals would allow it to introduce a new ‘green lane’ that would avoid all checks on goods destined for use in Northern Ireland.