Brussels, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- The European Union on Monday sent a formal letter to the United Kingdom for allegedly breaching the customs agreement on Northern Ireland within the Brexit deal.
The letter marks the first step in an infringement process, the European Commission said in a statement.
“The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is the only way to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement and to preserve peace and stability, while avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and maintaining the integrity of the EU single market,” Commission vice-president Maroš Šefcovic said in the statement.
“The EU and the UK agreed the Protocol together. We are also bound to implement it together. Unilateral decisions and international law violations by the UK defeat its very purpose and undermine trust between us.”
The UK’s government on March 3 said it would delay by six months the implementation of custom checks on goods and pet travel from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, a UK territory that borders the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.
The Northern Ireland protocol was a major pillar of the Brexit deal designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, a sensitive topic enshrined in the 1998 Good Friday agreement, an international peace deal that put an end to decades of sectarian violence.
“The UK must properly implement it if we are to achieve our objectives. That is why we are launching legal action today,” Šefcovic added. EFE-EPA