The British government has called for a new agreement with the EU to resolve current trade issues between Britain and Northern Ireland, as Britain’s Brexit minister, David Frost, warned “we cannot continue as we are”.
Frost expressed his dissatisfaction with the current Northern Ireland protocol element in Britain’s withdrawal agreement and told Parliament on Wednesday that the agreement needed a “Significant change”.
The Brexit minister called for a revision of the agreement to strike “new balance”, with “The relationship between us and the EU is no longer politicized by the EU institutions and the EU [European] Court “. Instead, the new deal would hopefully contain more of one “Sense of genuine and fair partnership”, he added, warning about it “We can not continue as we are.”
However, Frost also said that while there was justification for invoking Article 16 – which allows both parties, London or Brussels, to suspend parts of the treaty if extremely negative circumstances arise – it would not be the best course of action to take at present. point in time.
European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič responded to Frost’s comments, saying the bloc would continue to work with Britain and look for “Creative solutions within the framework of the protocol in all communities in Northern Ireland”. However, a renegotiation was out of the question – said Šefčovič “Stability and predictability” was of paramount importance to the region.
Ireland’s Prime Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne also ruled out the possibility of revising the current agreement, stating: “We do not want to negotiate the protocol.” He said the current agreement was already flexible enough and that there was room for interpretation of its implementation.
The UK and the EU have struggled to find a middle ground that respects the EU single market without creating a hard line between Northern Ireland, which is in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member. The Northern Ireland Protocol allows the transfer of goods between neighboring countries without the control of goods.
However, several issues have arisen that have highlighted the complications of trade between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom under the Protocol. In what was called a ‘sausage war’, Britain and the EU were involved for several months in an escalating series over an impending ban on the sale and import of British chilled meat to Northern Ireland. A three-month deadline for the introduction of the ban was granted by the EU, but this expires in September.
Problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol have caused tensions to swell in the region, with the country’s unions accusing Ireland of inciting a trade-based “Cold War”. Back in March, the Loyalist Communities Council withdrew its support for the Good Friday Agreement – a ceasefire that largely ended 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland – as it did not support the solution to the Irish border situation under Britain’s withdrawal agreement.
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