NI Protocol: EU takes legal action against London

Brussels is launching legal proceedings against the bill with which the British government aims to circumvent the Northern Ireland Protocol. EU Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has called the plans illegal and announced two new infringement proceedings as well as the reopening of a previous lawsuit. For London this could mean having to appear before the European Court of Justice and pay a fine.

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Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Johnson drifting towards unpredictability

Only a harsh course will work with the British government, the Kleine Zeitung advises:

“The Commission is responding with carrots and sticks. On the one hand, the ongoing but suspended infringement proceedings are being reactivated and two more have been added. At the same time, the EU is putting a package on the table that could bring further simplifications in the handling of the protocol. Maroš Šefčovičs demonstratively waved a few pieces of paper saying that the British narrative that every single lorry triggers a mountain of red tape is simply not true - three sheets of paper suffice. ... What seems inconceivable is the recklessness with which Boris Johnson and his team are putting their credibility on the line.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Brexit disaster increasingly obvious

London's manoeuvre is just a distraction, according to Dnevnik:

“The fact of the matter is that Boris Johnson is making a big fuss about the Northern Ireland protocol not because of the protocol itself or because of Northern Ireland, but for reasons of self-protection - because the consequences of the Brexit madness are becoming ever clearer. Johnson and the Conservative government have so far been relatively successful in blaming the whole mess on Covid and the war in Ukraine, but in recent weeks it has become more and more obvious that Britain's economic problems are largely due to Brexit. ... There is no better and more explosive distraction than politically unstable Northern Ireland, where anarchy and Johnson's chaotic leadership are fuelling unrest.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

An overhyped conflict

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung says more objectivity is needed:

“The protocol is a highly contradictory agreement that de facto recognises Northern Ireland as still part of the EU's single market but at the same time as part of the UK that has left this market. ... With good will on both sides, this absurdity could work. Northern Ireland's relatively small economic significance should make its hermaphroditic status as part of both the EU single market and the United Kingdom provided for in the protocol bearable for both sides. Northern Ireland would be a potential loophole in the single market, but with reasonable controls abuses could be kept in check.”