The UK has issued a controversial law amending the Brexit deal



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The UK has issued a controversial law amending the Brexit deal

Today, the UK government announced a law amending the Protocol on Trade with Northern Ireland in a unilateral move that the EU qualifies as an action detrimental to mutual trust. Brexit negotiator and vice-president of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic said in a statement after the announcement of the law that renegotiations regarding the Trade Protocol were unrealistic.

He also said the EU could consider re-launching legal action against the UK to protect the single market "from the risk of violating the provisions of the Business Protocol, and the health and safety of EU citizens"

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, said earlier that the bill would bring only "trivial changes", rejecting the concerns of European officials, even though they could result in a trade war with the EU.

Johnson said the new law is the right path to the future.

"What we have to respect, this is a crucial thing, is the balance and the symmetry of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement," he said, adding that "one community at the moment feels very estranged"

Johnson said. European leaders have warned that the bill is a way to destroy relations between London and Brussels. Ireland's Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney warned British Brexit Minister Liz Truss, that "publishing legislation that would breach the UK's commitments under international law, the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol is deeply damaging to relationships on these islands and between the UK and EU."

Coveney and Sefcovic also spoke one-on-one. "We're on the same page," Coveney wrote on Twitter. "EU remains keen to find a negotiated solution to NIP through partnership and compromise, but we need a partner that is willing to meet us halfway!" The protocol, which is already in force and on which the parties have managed to reach an agreement, has kept Northern Ireland within the EU single market in order to avoid a border trade barrier with the Republic of Ireland.

This means that goods traveling from the UK to Northern Ireland must first pass checks, which de facto creates a border in the Irish Sea. The EU refuses to resume negotiations on the Trade Protocol, demanding that the changes be kept within the existing framework.

European officials have warned that changing the agreement would violate international law. The agreement known as the "Northern Ireland Protocol" was part of an agreement to withdraw Britain from the EU.