BREXIT – Will the UK be able to implement the NI Protocol or will it end up in the ECJ?

Brexit & NI Protocol

Director of P.A.Duffy & Co Solicitors Conal McGarrity discusses BREXIT – Will the UK be able to implement the NI Protocol or will it end up in the ECJ?

Following the UK departure from the EU on 31stJanuary 2020 Northern Ireland is now outside the EU while the Republic of Ireland will remain inside.

Crossing The Border

The UK and EU agreed this should not lead to new checks or controls on goods crossing the border between the two parts of Ireland. Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules on agricultural and manufactured goods, while the rest of the UK will not.  Additionally, the whole of the UK will leave the EU’s customs union but Northern Ireland will continue to enforce the EU’s customs code at its ports.

The Institute for Government

The Institute for Government said in a new report, it was unlikely Boris Johnson’s Irish border plans will be delivered by December 2020. The think-tank claims that if the UK does not put the measures into place by the end of the transition period it could face being taken to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the European Commission.

The report says: “The Government will almost certainly be unable to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol by December 2020.  This could result in the UK being taken to the ECJ and cause practical and political disruption in Northern Ireland.  The Protocol involves complex customs arrangements and regulatory and customs checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain – but key details are yet to be decided by the Joint Committee established in the Withdrawal Agreement and not yet up and running.  The deal has the support of no Northern Irish political parties and it looks almost impossible to complete the practical changes, for government and business, by the end of the year.

Failure to comply with the Withdrawal Agreement could see the European Commission begin infringement proceedings and the UK ending up at the ECJ.

11 Month Transition

The UK will now enter an 11-month transition period until the end of 2020.  The Brexit deal includes areas like aviation, fishing and data as well as trade.

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