EU launches legal action against UK over post-Brexit changes

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is launching legal action against the U.K. in response to unilateral moves to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the post-Brexit deal between both sides, the bloc’s executive branch said Wednesday.

The proposed U.K. bill seeks to remove customs checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. That will override parts of the trade treaty that Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed with the EU less than two years ago.

The EU believes that the UK’s unilateral decision is violating international law. The so-called Northern Ireland Protocol is the part of the Brexit deal which keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

The 27-nation bloc will restart the infringement procedure launched against the U.K. government last year after Britain unilaterally extended a grace period that applies to trade on the island of Ireland.

The action had been put on hold in September 2021 as both parties tried to find joint solution. In addition, the EU will kick off further action against the U.K. for a perceived failure to carry out necessary controls under the EU rules, and to provide trade statistics data as required under the protocol.

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