Under the current protocol, Northern Ireland is part of British customs territory but is subject to the EU's customs code, value-added tax rules, and single market rules for goods.
Despite legal action from the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) said on Thursday that it will continue with its pause on border checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
"I can confirm we have received a reply from the UK. We will now analyze the reply before deciding on the next steps," European Commission spokesperson for EU-UK affairs Daniel Ferrie said on Thursday.
The Commission launched infringement procedures against the UK in June and July for not complying with the Northern Ireland Protocol, the rules governing post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland is part of British customs territory but is subject to the EU's customs code, value-added tax rules and single market rules for goods. However, a de facto Irish Sea border was thus created between the British mainland and Northern Ireland, meaning goods transported to and from Northern Ireland are subject to border controls.
The UK is suffering ongoing malaise. While others around us are fitter & better able to manage shocks, we’re unable to function as we used to. Slower, weaker, vulnerable.— James Withers (@JamesRWithers) September 16, 2022
Yet, treatment is withheld; govt even denies symptoms exist.
This is Long Brexit & we’re all living with it. pic.twitter.com/y4zDuJCIkl
This has elicited firm opposition from Northern Ireland's pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party, causing political chaos.
In mid-June, the UK unilaterally introduced a bill to change key parts of the protocol, including removing unnecessary costs and paperwork for businesses trading within the UK and allowing businesses to have the choice of placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland according to either UK or EU goods rules.
Launching the infringement procedures then, the Commission said if the UK does not reply within two months, it will consider taking the UK to the EU Court of Justice. In August, the deadline was extended by one month.