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Liz Truss – the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom – sets off formal ‘dispute’ proceedings with the EU over UK access to European Union science programs.

British foreign secretary Liz Truss, has sparked formal ‘dispute’ proceedings against European Union (EU) in the run-up of an increasingly-politicized Northern Ireland trip for upcoming Conservative leadership campaigns.

Liz Truss – the likely British PM

Truss – the favorite candidate to succeed former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – accused EU Commission of violating the ‘EU-UK Trade And Cooperation Agreement (TCA)’ by impeding UK’s access to European Union science schemes.

Vowing to do everything required to protect UK science, the British foreign secretary announced the much-awaited launch of ‘formal proceedings’ with Brussels on the issue at stake – the first phase of the dispute resolution mechanism laid out in the TCA deal.

“The EU is in clear breach of our agreement, repeatedly seeking to politicise vital scientific cooperation by refusing to finalise access to these important programmes,” the UK foreign secretary said in a statement. “We cannot allow this to continue.”

The curious case of Northern Ireland, UK, and EU

Once again, Northern Ireland has gained uncalled-for attention between the EU and UK sparring. The British government is threatening to override sections of the Brexit divorce deal one-sidedly meant to prevent the ‘hard border’ between Ireland (popularly called Northern Ireland) and the UK.

Under TCA terms, Britain was soon to join the European Union science programs such as ‘Horizon Europe R&D framework,’ ‘Copernicus satellite scheme,’ and ‘Euratom Research and Training Programme.’

However, 20 months since the deal was finalized and agreed upon, the British association has not even been formalized.

Although talks are underway between both sides, the EU Commission has postponed the association agreement’s final sign-off, accusing the UK of being irresponsive to Ireland protocols.

EU’s linking of two issues has irritated Britain adversely, where several ministers argue it lacks a legal basis.