Brexit: London asks the EU for a new compromise on Northern Ireland

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Reuters

The UK on Wednesday called for a new EU deal to overcome trade issues with Northern Ireland and has not ruled out taking unilateral initiatives that would stray from the Brexit deal reached. last year.

We can't go on like thisUK Brexit Minister David Frost told Parliament.

We see an opportunity to do things differently, to find a new way to try to come to an understanding with the EU through negotiation, a new balance in our arrangements for Northern Ireland, for the benefit of all, he added.

The heart of the dispute between the two parties rests on the Northern Irish protocol, included in the Brexit agreement. It is intended to preserve the so-called Good Friday peace agreement, concluded in 1998, by avoiding the reestablishment of a physical border between the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, and the British province of Ireland. North.

This protocol, also intended to protect the European single market, led to controls on goods, such as sausages, shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, arousing the discontent of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was a signatory of the Brexit agreement, and especially the Northern Irish Unionists, who refuse any difference in treatment with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Threat of unilateral initiatives

Reuters reported on Monday that London was threatening to depart from the Brexit deal.

Thomas Byrne, the Irish Foreign Minister, reacted to David Frost's comments by saying his country was ready to be flexible on the Northern Irish protocol, but did not want a renegotiation of the divorce treaty on Brexit.

Flexibility is possible. Our position is that we do not want to renegotiate the protocol, he told Sky.

Maros Sefcovic, the vice-president of the European Commission responsible for Brexit, said for his part that the community bloc would work to find creative solutions trade difficulties related to Northern Ireland, but that he would not renegotiate the Brexit deal.

We stand ready to continue to seek creative solutions, within the framework of the Protocol, for the benefit of all communities in Northern Ireland. But we will not accept a renegotiation of the protocol, did he declare.

The Protocol (…) is the joint solution the EU has found with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Lord David Frost – and it has been ratified by the British Parliament, he recalled. He added that for the objectives of the protocol to be achieved, it had to be implemented.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Photo: Reuters / Simon Dawson

New balance

According to David Frost, Britain wants a new balanced that it presents in a document in which the management of the agreement would no longer be the responsibility of the EU institutions and the European Court of Justice, but from a normal treaty framework, more conducive to the sense of an authentic and fair partnership.

These proposals will require significant changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, emphasizes David Frost. We will not back down on this, we believe that such a change is necessary to cope with the situation we are currently facing., he added.

The British Minister responsible for Brexit also believes that a renegotiation of the treaties is nothing unusual. According to him, article 16 of the protocol authorizes unilateral initiatives.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, welcomed London's new demand on Wednesday, saying it is a important first step which must be followed by appropriate renegotiation.

This is an important government step in the right direction and a recognition that the (Northern Ireland) Protocol is not sustainable, he said.

Although customs controls, implemented under the Northern Irish Protocol, have so far been lightened up, several UK distributors, such as Marks & Spencer, have said they are already experiencing difficulties in shipping goods to some member states ofEU.

These distributors threatened to move their supply chains from the UK to theEU.

The implementation of all customs controls, initially scheduled for March, has been unilaterally extended by Great Britain. The EU has agreed to a deadline until the end of September, in particular to reach a solution on the dispute called the sausage war.

David Frost argued for a standstill period which would extend the current waivers and a freeze on pending legal actions.


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