The United Kingdom has reached an agreement with the European Union, delaying its response over legal action for an alleged breach of the Brexit deal until mid-May, a government spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.
The bloc launched the legal challenge against the EU in March after the UK announced it was unilaterally changing part of the withdrawal deal, extending the grace period for businesses to adapt to new post-Brexit measures between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.
Europe claims that the UK is in breach of the Brexit deal by acting without the backing of EU leadership, while Britain has argued that the move does not undermine anything and is simply about trying to minimise disruption to trade of goods and services.
“In line with precedent that typically allows two months to respond to proceedings of this kind, we have agreed with the EU that we will respond to the Letter of Formal Notice by mid-May,” a UK government spokesperson stated.
We’ve been clear that the measures we have taken are lawful and part of a progressive and good faith implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The EU has not currently commented on the development, but Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney is set to meet with British officials on Thursday, as the UK’s Brexit negotiator travels to Europe to meet with the bloc’s team to find a resolution to the dispute.
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While the UK wants to extend the Brexit grace period until 2023, the EU has rejected its requests, claiming the timelines for the implementation of measures were outlined within the Withdrawal Agreement. EU officials claim that, without the union’s consent, Britain does not have the right to make any changes to a deal that’s been signed off by the bloc’s member states.
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