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Remember when Whitehall "officials" were waxing lyrical about European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, as opposed to his predecessor, "robotic" Barnier?

EU says UK risks breaking law with solo bid to ease Northern Irish checks - Politico.eu

Brussels accused Britain of risking a breach of international law after the U.K. unveiled plans to unilaterally extend grace periods on post-Brexit customs checks at Northern Ireland's ports for at least six months.

The U.K.'s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said measures due to come into force on April 1 under the terms of Britain's post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU must be postponed until October 1.

But European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič condemned the move Wednesday night, branding it "a clear departure from the constructive approach" to ongoing talks on Northern Ireland trade that would undermine trust. Ireland called it "deeply unhelpful."

The Commission said in a statement that it marked the "second time" the U.K. government had been "set to breach international law" after a heated row over the border erupted in 2020.

"Following the UK government's statement today, Vice-President Šefčovič has expressed the EU's strong concerns over the UK's unilateral action, as this amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement," the statement said.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Mar 4th, 2021 at 06:54:07 PM EST

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