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How Boris Johnson Is Taking UK Into New Trade Rift With EU

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Brexit: EU Launches Legal Action Against UK Over Bill

The UK is planning legislation to override parts of the Brexit deal it signed with the European Union, using an arcane concept of international law as a justification to do so. The move, designed to defuse tensions over how a section on Northern Ireland should be implemented, instead risks triggering a serious legal dispute with the EU more than two years after the UK left the bloc, just as a unified approach to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine had bound them together again. 

The legislation would give British ministers the power to unilaterally rewrite the bulk of the so-called Northern Ireland protocol, which keeps the area in the EU’s single market while creating a customs border with the rest of the UK. That was designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The new rules would separate goods just flowing between Britain and Northern Ireland from goods intended for the EU and allow businesses in Northern Ireland to choose whether they follow UK or EU standards, or both, for goods. They would also extend UK subsidy controls and tax breaks, including changes to value-added tax, to Northern Ireland and would strip the EU Court of Justice of its role in settling disputes over the Brexit deal in the region, allowing instead an independent arbitration panel to oversee legal issues.