World EU to Delay Brexit Legal Action Amid Northern Ireland Violence
Brexit Antagonism Escalates as EU, U.K. Go Another Round
When the U.K. and European Union shook hands on a trade deal late last year, few expected the new relationship to be plain sailing. And as with many divorces, antagonism between the sides has refused to fade. © Bloomberg Graffiti on a building reads "No Irish Sea border" in the Sandy Row area in Belfast, U.K., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. On Tuesday, U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove condemned the EU's threat to impose border checks on Northern Ireland, warning it had provoked anger on all sides of the political divide.
The European Union is set to postpone legal action against the U.K. for breaching the Northern Irish Brexit deal, according to two people familiar with the matter, as riots grip the province.
N Ireland sees 3rd night of unrest amid post-Brexit tensions
LONDON (AP) — Police and politicians in Northern Ireland appealed for calm on Monday after a third night of violence that saw Protestant youths start fires and pelt officers with bricks and gasoline bombs. The flareups come amid rising tensions over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland and worsening relations between the parties in the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing Belfast government. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said officers were attacked in Londonderry on Sunday night, and there was also unrest in two pro-British unionist areas near Belfast. Police said most of those involved were teenagers.
The EU beganlast month after Britain unilaterally extended a waiver on checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The temporary exemption was part of the trade agreement aimed at keeping the Irish border free of checkpoints after the U.K. left the bloc.
The EU had eyed April 15 to push forward, but is holding off as it works on a joint plan with the U.K. to defuse the issues, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as deliberations are ongoing. The European Commission declined to comment.
Those considerations come as tensions flare in Northern Ireland, with pro-British loyalists protesting against the Brexit deal, which they say risks cutting them off from the mainland at the EU’s behest. The worstin years have injured more than 70 police officers, and a hardline approach by the EU risks inflaming the situation further.
Northern Ireland riots: Bus torched in more Belfast violence as British and Irish leaders call for calm
Parts of Northern Ireland saw their sixth consecutive night of violence Wednesday as unionists and nationalists clashed with police and each other. © Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images Rioters clash at the Peace Gate at the Springfield Road/Lanark Way interface on April 7, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Unrest first broke out last week amid rising tensions relating to Brexit and unionist anger over a decision by police not to prosecute leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions during the funeral of a former leading IRA figure.
The commission had asked the U.K. to provide a credible roadmap for the implementation of the deal, but the two people said the proposals weren’t satisfactory. Nevertheless, the EU has decided to work with the U.K. on a joint plan and put legal steps on ice in the interim, the people added.
The delay buys time to resolve the difficulties, according to one of the people, with the bloc determined not to deepen divisions with the U.K. at a particularly sensitive time.
Under the deal negotiated by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Northern Ireland effectively stayed in the EU’s customs union and much of the single market. This avoided the need for border checks on the island of Ireland, but introduced them for the first time on goods coming into the province from Britain, leading to delays and disruption.
The U.K. temporarily exempted some goods from the checks for a time, but last month extended the grace period further without notice.
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What the Protests in Northern Ireland Could Mean for the Future of Its Peace .
What the Protests in Northern Ireland Could Mean for the Future of Its PeaceThe anger in Northern Ireland has many sources. Loyalists, who want to remain part of the U.K., want to know why, in a time of COVID restrictions, authorities pursued no prosecutions after crowds defied lockdown rules to gather for the recent funeral of a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army. A police crackdown on criminal gangs in loyalist neighborhoods has also pushed defiant young people into the streets.