Northern Ireland Protocol: EU takes legal action over Brexit deal as Boris Johnson warned plans are 'illegal'

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said Boris Johnson’s actions to unilaterally override elements of the Brexit deal are “illegal” as he announced a fresh round of legal action by Brussels against the UK.

The Government’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is “extremely damaging to mutual trust and respect between the EU and the UK”, Mr Sefcovic said.

He said: “It has created deep uncertainty and casts a shadow over our overall co-operation, all at a time when respect for international agreements has never been more important.

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“That is why the commission has today decided to take legal action against the UK for not complying with significant parts of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.”

European Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic holds up documents as he speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. Picture: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

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Mr Sefcovic said the UK Government’s plans for Northern Ireland trade would lead to a “monstrous mountain of paperwork” for businesses.

The European Commission vice-president brandished three pages of “simple” and “oven-ready” paperwork that businesses would need to fill out under the EU’s proposals.

He told a press conference in Brussels: “Permanent solutions and simple operations of the protocol proposed by the EU versus constant uncertainty with UK ministers having open hand to change the rules on a whim”.

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