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We’ll respond to EU legal action by mid-May, says Britain

The British government said that it would respond to the legal action brought by the European Union (EU) in May, a British government spokesperson told dpa on Wednesday.

“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.

“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 spokesperson said.

It comes after reports stated the British government had written to the European Commission requesting a month-long extension to respond to the legal action.

In March, Brussels launched proceedings against London after it unilaterally extended a transition period of a key protocol to ease difficulties surrounding food deliveries from the rest of the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

The EU executive branch had sent two letters to London, one which triggered the first step of infringement proceedings under EU law and another outlining complaint about violations of the withdrawal agreement.

The transition date for the key protocol was due to expire at the end of March; however, Britain has unilaterally extended this to October.

Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis told lawmakers at the time the move was not an attempt to undermine the protocol or a prelude to a bid to ditch it.

Under the deal agreed with Brussels, British-administered Northern Ireland has remained in the EU’s single market to prevent a politically sensitive border with the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU. (Dpa/NAN)

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