EU Warns of Possible Legal Action Against UK Over Post-Brexit Deal Changes

The UK government's proposed bill is being opposed by British members of Parliament and EU officials alike. 

2 min read
Hindi Female

The European Commission, on Wednesday, 15 June, initiated two new legal proceedings against the United Kingdom government after the latter proposed fresh legislation that unilaterally changes the post-Brexit trade norms for Northern Ireland, resuming a currently paused challenge, Al Jazeera reported.

Even though the Boris Johnson-led government maintained that the legislation acts within the bounds of international law, the European Union has suggested the use of legal action against the UK.

The UK government's move has garnered considerable opposition from British members of Parliament and European Union officials, who claim that the legislation violates current international law, the report added.

While Ireland described the legislation as a “new low,” Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, spoke of damaged mutual trust. However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that the “relatively trivial” steps will improve trade and uncomplicate bureaucracy between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.


Arguing that his government had a higher and prior legal commitment to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, responsible for bringing peace to Northern Ireland, Johnson told LBC Radio, “Frankly, it’s a relatively trivial set of adjustments in the grand scheme of things.”

Since the British province is a part of the EU’s single market for goods, imports from the rest of the United Kingdom are liable to customs declarations, and even require checks on their arrival in some cases.

What Is the Proposed Legislation?

The proposed bill aims to remove customs checks on particular goods that enter Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, but overrides some parts of the two-year-old post-Brexit trade treaty between the UK and the EU.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol agreement, the UK and the European Commission agreed that the Irish land border shall stay free of customs posts and other checks, emphasising the importance of an open border as a key pillar to the peace process which eventually ended years of violence in Northern Ireland.

The protocol ensured that free trade could continue through the Irish land border, a sensitive issue because of the history of conflict in Northern Ireland.


In an attempt to protect the EU’s single market, goods like meat and eggs from the rest of the UK go through checks before entering Northern Ireland. However, the agreement has come with political repercussions for Johnson as it treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK and weakens the region’s historic ties with the UK.

The United Kingdom has long threatened to rip up the protocol and is planning a green channel to move goods from Britain to Northern Ireland, change tax rules, and remove the European Court of Justice from its role as sole arbiter in disputes related to the protocol.

However, the bill to override the protocol agreement is set to face backlash and opposition in the British Parliament, even from Johnson’s own Conservative Party.

(With inputs from Al Jazeera.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and world

Topics:  United Kingdom   European Union   Brexit 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More