British decision to impose taxes will violate the UK-EU Brexit Treaty

Brussels, March 3 (AFP/APP): A unilateral British decision to defer imposing checks on food and farm products going to Northern Ireland would violate the UK-EU Brexit treaty, a top EU official warned on Wednesday.

“This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law,” European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic warned in a statement. That referred to a previous attempt by London — later dropped — to override parts of the January 2020 Withdrawal Agreement that saw Britain end its near half-century membership in the European Union. Sefcovic said it was “disappointing that the UK government has resorted to such unilateral action” without informing Brussels beforehand as required under the treaty.

“The European Commission will respond to these developments in accordance with the legal means” set out in the treaty, he said, adding that he would press that point to Britain’s Brexit minister David Frost in a phone call later Wednesday. Sefcovic — who co-chairs with Frost a joint EU-UK committee meant to work through issues related to the Brexit treaty — stressed that the agreement aims to protect the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought an end to decades of political violence in Northern Ireland.

Britain has been increasingly chafing against the Brexit treaty and its provisions that keep the British territory within the orbit of the EU’s customs area as a way to ensure that no border is again erected between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

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