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EU to Launch Legal Action Over UK Plan to Extend Brexit Grace Period


(The Guardian) The EU is to launch legal action against the UK after the government unilaterally decided to delay the implementation of parts of the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

A letter notifying the British government of infringement proceedings is expected to be issued at around midday on Monday. The European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič signalled 10 days ago that the action would be taken.

It comes two months after the UK sealed its Brexit trade deal and less than 14 months after the signing of the broader withdrawal agreement, of which the Northern Ireland protocol is a part.

The EU has two legal avenues open to it. It could launch proceedings under the withdrawal agreement, which would lead to a case in the European court of justice (ECJ). This would risk causing further damage to the fragile political relationship between the two sides, given the symbolism of the ECJ to Brexiters in the Tory party who fought for the fastest, hardest exit possible from the EU.

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