BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will not renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol agreement, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said on Monday, in response to Britain's decision to override some of the post-Brexit trade rules for the region.
"Renegotiating the protocol is unrealistic ... Any renegotiation would simply bring further legal uncertainty for people and businesses in Northern Ireland. For these reasons, the European Union will not renegotiate the protocol," Sefcovic said in a statement.
"Our aim will always be to secure the implementation of the Protocol. Our reaction to unilateral action by the UK will reflect that aim and will be proportionate."
Tensions have been simmering for months after Britain accused the EU of taking a heavy-handed approach to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland - checks needed to keep an open border with EU-member Ireland.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese)