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EU planning to sue Britain over Irish portion of Brexit agreement

A police officer patrols near Britain's border with the Eurotunnel near Calais, France, on January 31, 2020. File Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE
A police officer patrols near Britain's border with the Eurotunnel near Calais, France, on January 31, 2020. File Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE

March 15 (UPI) -- The European Union said Monday it will sue Britain over what it said has been a breach in Northern Ireland of the terms of the Brexit agreement.

The alliance said Britain violated EU law with a decision two weeks ago to delay protocol on "the movement of goods and pet travel from Great Britain to Northern Ireland," and violated its "good faith obligation" under the Brexit deal.

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"The protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is the only way to protect the Good Friday Agreement and to preserve peace and stability, while avoiding a hard border on the island and maintaining the integrity of the EU single market," European Commission Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations Maros Sefcovic said in a statement.

"[We] agreed the protocol together. We are also bound to implement it together."

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"What I would say to our friends in Brussels is very simple -- the protocol is there to uphold and to guarantee, to buttress the Good Friday Agreement," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in The Independent. "[The protocol] should guarantee not just trade and movement north-south but east-west as well.

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"That's all we're trying to sort out with some temporary and technical measures which we think are very sensible."

The European Commission asked Britain to respond within a month and "carry out swift remedial actions" to come back into compliance.

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If no solution is found, the European Commission said the EU court may impose financial penalties.

The protocol in Ireland and Northern Ireland was a key part of the Brexit agreement, which has been in force since last month.

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