Update: 09 June 2021 21:58 STI
Brussels [Belgium], June 9 (ANI): The European Union (EU) ‘s patience with the UK regarding the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is “very, very slim,” the Vice President of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic.
Sefcovic told reporters that London and Brussels were at a “crossroads” and reiterated threats that the European bloc will act “quickly, firmly and decisively” if the UK does not respect the term of the withdrawal agreement, Euronews reported.
He warned that the EU could impose tariffs on British products. Northern Ireland has so far remained in the bloc’s customs unions under the Brexit treaty agreed in December 2020.
It has also remained so in order to avoid the creation of a physical border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which many fear will again spark sectarian violence on the island.
A border has effectively been created in the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland as some goods must now be checked before crossing the sea, Euronews reported.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who negotiated the withdrawal agreement now in force, has since called it “ridiculous”. A grace period was initially agreed with London which unilaterally decided earlier this year to forgo checks.
The grace period allowed under the protocol deal is due to expire on June 30, but Britain now wants to extend that waiver until 2023, which has been rejected by the EU.
Sefcovic also told reporters that “the EU has creatively and tirelessly engaged in finding solutions” on the Northern Ireland Protocol and has agreed to an initial grace period for border controls “because the UK was not technically ready to implement it “.
He said the EU has shown “a very constructive approach and enormous patience” but now it is wearing itself out “very, very thin”, Euronews reported.
The bloc had already launched legal action against London over its decision to unilaterally extend the original grace period. He has now threatened legal action, which would include arbitration and “cross retaliation”. (ANI)