British Union Jack and EU flags are pictured before the meeting with Britain's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2019. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

In the dispute over Brexit rules for the British province of Northern Ireland, the EU Commission has initiated four new proceedings against the United Kingdom. The Brussels authorities accused London on Friday of violating essential parts of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.

Despite numerous appeals from the 27 EU countries to London to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol, the British government has refused, according to a statement by the Commission.

Infringement procedures can lead to a complaint before the European Court of Justice and result in a fine.

It was only on Wednesday evening that the British House of Commons voted in third reading for the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol bill. With the planned law, the Brexit agreements on the British province should be able to be unilaterally overridden by London.

The EU had previously expressed its concern about the project and threatened consequences. As early as mid-June, she had therefore initiated two legal proceedings and resumed one.

Despite some fierce criticism from within their own ranks, 267 MPs in London voted in favor of the project, while 195 MPs voted against it. However, before the law can come into force, it still has to go through the second chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords. That should happen after the summer break.

The draft is likely to meet with more resistance in the upper house. Should the government prevail with the plans, however, there should be serious upheavals with Brussels. In the worst case, a trade war threatens.

The government in London wants to use the bill to force Brussels to reopen the agreement on the special status for Northern Ireland that was only concluded in 2019 as part of the Brexit Treaty. The EU Commission strictly excludes this and instead wants to negotiate solutions within the framework of the existing agreement.

The Northern Ireland Protocol stipulates that the province will remain part of the EU’s internal market and European Customs Union. This was intended to prevent goods controls at the border with EU member Ireland in order to prevent the conflict between supporters and opponents of a unification of the two parts of Ireland flaring up again.