Did the EU ever intend to allow the UK regain sovereignty?

EXCLUSIVE: Brussels has 136 legal cases open against the UK, with more to come

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2021

The hostility from the EU against Brexit Britain is now plain for the world to see

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, the Democratic Unionist Party MP the Rt Hon Sammy Wilson put the following to Secretary of State the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP:-

“Does the Secretary of State accept that if the Prime Minister’s promise and the protocol’s assurance that there will be unfettered trade between GB and Northern Ireland are to be delivered, something more than an extension of the grace periods is required? Really, there needs to be a reset or a rethinking of the agreement so that we have an alternative arrangement, such as the mutual enforcement of regulations, that would exempt Northern Ireland from being subject to EU laws and from the European Court of Justice making judgments about this part of the United Kingdom.”

In fact the United Kingdom’s problems with the EU’s laws and its ‘European’ [EU] Court of Justice (ECJ) go much further than what is happening in Northern Ireland.

The EU has a large number of active legal cases open against the UK

Facts4EU.Org has researched the current position regarding legal proceedings which the EU has opened against the United Kingdom. The UK is facing the continuing process of EU law – and being forced to appear in front of the ECJ – for events prior to Brexit.

However, the results of our research raise some fundamental questions about sovereignty. They bring into question the extent to which the UK regained any sovereignty when it technically ceased to be a member of the European Union on 31 January last year (2020).

Our research flags up 46 actions which the EU has taken against the United Kingdom AFTER it ceased to be a member.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The EU continues to use EU law against the sovereign United Kingdom

  • The EU has 136 legal proceedings against the UK which are defined as ‘active’
  • 90 of these actions pre-date the UK's departure - some of them only just
  • 46 of these actions are dated AFTER the UK ‘left’ the EU on 31 January 2020
  • There are 103 ‘Formal Notices’, 22 ‘Reasoned Opinions’, and 11 ‘Referrals to Court’

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

It is very important to note that these actions are taking place under EU, not international, law. And this is despite the United Kingdom supposedly now being a free, independent, and sovereign country.

EU's legal actions show how far they took over UK's national laws

Our investigation shows just how the EU invaded every part of United Kingdom life during the UK’s membership. Despite Remainer politicians and commentators deriding the claims of pro-Brexit organisations like Facts4EU.Org that EU laws were staring to dominate British life, the facts demonstrate that Brexiteers were right.

Below is the official list of policy areas covered by the EU’s 136 active legal actions.

  • Budget
  • Communication Networks, Content and Technology
  • Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union
  • Health and Food Safety
  • Home Affairs
  • Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
  • Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
  • Legal Service
  • Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
  • Mobility and Transport
  • Secretariat General
  • Taxation and Customs Union

Readers may consider that it might have been easier for us to list any areas of policy which have not been subject to EU action.

More legal action against the United Kingdom from the EU is on the way

As has been widely reported, the UK Government is finally taking action to protect the status of Northern Ireland and its fragile peace process. In response to Sammy Wilson’s question in the Commons on Wednesday, the Secretary of State said:

“The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we have to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland can continue to enjoy products, their commercial activities and their day-to-day lives in the way that they always have done as members of and part of the United Kingdom.”

This was then followed up by a Written Ministerial Statement which can be read here.

This statement provoked an immediate response in Brussels and it is now clear that they will be opening yet more legal actions again the United Kingdom in the coming days and weeks.

Brussels instantly went on the attack

Contrary to claims from the Commission, it was in fact informed by the British Government of the decisions to extend transitional reliefs in order to ameliorate the crisis developing in Northern Ireland as a result of the EU’s ‘Protocol’.

Within just a few hours, before Lord Frost had even had a chance to speak to his opposite number, the EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič had put out a statement and press release.

Statement by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič following today's announcement by the UK government regarding the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland

"Following the UK government's statement today, Vice-President Šefčovič has expressed the EU's strong concerns over the UK's unilateral action, as this amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law.

"This also constitutes a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed up until now, thereby undermining both the work of the Joint Committee and the mutual trust necessary for solution-oriented cooperation.

"It is equally disappointing that the UK government has resorted to such unilateral action without informing the EU's co-chair of the Joint Committee. Issues relating to the Protocol should be dealt with through the structures provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement.

"Vice-President Šefčovič has reiterated that the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is the only way to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Throughout last year, we worked tirelessly to find practical workable solutions, based on the Protocol, to minimise disruption caused by Brexit and to help facilitate the everyday life of communities in Northern Ireland. The Joint Committee formally endorsed these solutions on 17 December 2020 in order to help businesses adapt to the new reality.

"The Vice-President has also recalled that at the last EU-UK Joint Committee on 24 February, the UK reiterated its commitment to the proper implementation of the Protocol, as well as the implementation without delay of all decisions taken in the Joint Committee in December 2020. He also recalled that the mutually agreed joint engagement with Northern Irish business groups and other stakeholders was meant to jointly look into solutions.

"In his phone call later today with David Frost, in his capacity as co-chair of the EU-UK Joint Committee on the Withdrawal Agreement and of the EU-UK Partnership Council, Vice-President Šefčovič will inform him that the European Commission will respond to these developments in accordance with the legal means established by the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement."

Lord Frost responded robustly to the EU, in a call that evening

Here are the key excerpts from Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, Cabinet Office, and Lord Frost CMG, 03 Mar 2021

Statement by Lord Frost regarding the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland - key excerpts

"This was their first meeting since Lord Frost took up the role as Minister co-chairing the Partnership Council and the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee with the EU.

"He underlined, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had in his letter of 2 February, that progress still needed to be urgently made to address the direct and often disproportionate impact that aspects of the Protocol are having on the citizens of Northern Ireland, contrary to its intended purpose. He acknowledged the work of the Joint Committee over the last few weeks since the Commission’s triggering of Article 16 of the Protocol on 29 January, but noted that these discussions had not yet resolved the current difficulties.

"Lord Frost explained that the measures announced today, following official-level notification to the Commission earlier this week, were temporary technical steps, which largely continued measures already in place, to provide more time for businesses such as supermarkets and parcel operators to adapt to and implement the new requirements in the Protocol. He underlined that these were needed for operational reasons and were the minimum necessary steps to allow time for constructive discussions in the Joint Committee to continue without the prospect of disruption to the everyday life of people in Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

"He noted that such operational measures were well precedented in other international trade arrangements, and that they were entirely consistent with our intention to discharge our obligations under the Protocol in good faith.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Šefčovič then gave an interview to the pro-EU and anti-Brexit Financial Times in which he said the EU Commission was now working on "infringement proceedings" against the UK.

"We are currently preparing it and it would be really something coming to our table very soon. The most precise term I can give you is really very soon," he said.


As an organisation that produced chapter and verse on the Withdrawal Agreement and consistently and repeatedly condemned it, it gives us no pleasure to say "We told you so". Now, it seems that everyone and their aunt are up in arms about this iniquitous EU treaty.

The Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the treaty, has helped to push the whole question of the rescinding and voiding of the entire Withdrawal Treaty into the limelight. Our position remains consistent: we would never have signed the thing in the first place. Now it is absolutely clear that it is not fit for purpose, that it is causing serious damage to businesses and to social cohesion and peace in Northern Ireland, and that it breaks international law by negating the terms of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement as we have always maintained.

Taken with the recent aggressive and hostile behaviour and actions from the EU which we have shown above, it is certainly right for the British Government to adopt a far more rigorous stance in all talks with the EU than has perhaps been the case over the past five years.

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[ Sources: Hansard | UK Parliament | EU Commission | EU legal records | Cabinet Office ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 05 Mar 2021

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