THE EU has warned Boris Johnson that it is poised to act “swiftly” if the UK doesn’t abide by its commitments to the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

The message came from Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s Vice President, as the two sides prepare to meet to assess potential simplification of the NI Protocol.

In a letter, Sefcovic wrote that the EU “will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations”. 

The NI Protocol was part of the Brexit deal and to prevent goods checks along the Irish land border, a trade border was created in the Irish Sea instead.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Northern Ireland protocol offers 'some template' for indy Scotland

This meant Northern Ireland would be kept in the EU single market for goods, with EU custom rules enforced at it's ports. 

The 2019 deal agreed that the checks would be brought in on a phased basis through “grace periods”.

But when earlier this year the UK unilaterally extended and enhanced some of the grace periods, the EU started legal action in response. 

The National:

The next phase of control, affecting chilled meat products like sausages and mince, are due to begin next month after the grace period in place ends. 

The July 1 deadline means that products will be stopped from moving between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, or the grace period will be extended by both sides agreeing or the UK making a unilateral decision. 

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Sefcovic wrote: “The EU team and I have worked to ensure the Protocol is implemented in a way that both facilitates the everyday life of Northern Ireland's communities and preserves the integrity of the EU's single market. But it has to be a joint endeavour with the UK.

READ MORE: UK ministers ‘have shocking lack of knowledge about Northern Ireland Protocol’

“The EU has shown from the beginning that we are willing to find creative solutions when required. The continued availability of medicines to Northern Ireland is among those tailor-made flexible solutions.

“I hope to see that same commitment to the Protocol and perseverance with its implementation from the UK Government when we meet.

“Unfortunately, we see fundamental gaps in the UK's implementation - even though the Protocol entered into force over 17 months ago.

The National:

"Mutually-agreed compliance paths, with concrete deadlines and milestones for the UK to fulfil its obligations, would be an important stepping stone - and, I believe, a credible outcome of this joint committee. 

“If this does not happen, and if the UK takes further unilateral action over the coming weeks, the EU will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations.”

The EU-UK Joint Committee is due to meet in London on Wednesday to discuss the progress of talks that have been examining ways to simplify the protocol.