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Legal proceedings have now begun following the move to extend the amnesty for checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Brussels has warned the UK that it has violated the terms of the agreed within the Brexit deal and has demanded the Prime Minister rectify the alleged breach. Due to this, Express.co.uk is asking in today’s exclusive poll: “Should Boris freeze access for EU ships to UK waters after legal threat?”
Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and UK agreed to a governance framework to manage any disputes.
Within this framework, the EU has begun the infringement process following the delivery of two letters to the UK.
Brussels has also claimed the UK had acted outside of the joint infringement process and may suffer fines if the EU is successful in its challenge.
In spite of the threats, both the Prime Minister and Lord David Frost, have claimed the measures made move to extend the amnesty were sensible and proportionate.
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Mr Johnson claimed the protocol had been created to maintain trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
He added: “That’s all we’re trying to sort out with some temporary and technical measures which we think are very sensible.”
Vice-President of the EU Commission Maros Sefcovic, added in response: “The EU and the UK agreed the protocol together.
“We are also bound to implement it together.
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“Unilateral decisions and international law violations by the UK defeat its very purpose and undermine trust between us.”
Before the end of the transition period, the EU launched separate legal proceedings against the UK although neither were brought before the European Court of Justice.
Despite the fallout, the UK has maintained the two sides will find solutions with Brussels on the concerns surrounding trade.
Now in control of our own waters, the UK does have the power to terminate the agreement over fisheries.
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Within the trade deal, the EU or UK can terminate the agreement within nine months’ notice, although this will impact other areas of the deal.
An arbitration process will also be conducted following the imposition of sanctions and will assess their use.
While the UK may take this route, the EU has given Westminster a month to resolve the issues surrounding the amnesty period on goods.
Following the legal letter sent to the UK, Westminster has said any measures taken are temporary and precedented.
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A statement added: “Low key operational measures like these are well precedented and common in the early days of major international treaties.
“In some areas, the EU also seems to need time to implement the detail of our agreements.”
In support of the Government, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster claimed Brussels was merely attempting to protect the single market rather than aid the state.
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She said: “Rather than showing concern for stability in Northern Ireland or respect for the principle of consent, Brussels is foolishly and selfishly focused on protecting its own bloc.
“Not one single unionist party in the Northern Ireland Assembly supports this flawed Protocol, therefore Brussels’ claim to be protecting peace continues to ring hollow.
“Regardless of the reaction in Brussels, the Prime Minister must deliver the unfettered flow of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.”