Boris Johnson’s plan to revise Brexit deal is ‘politically motivated’, says European Commission Vice-President | Politics News



Boris Johnson’s plan to unilaterally revise parts of the Northern Ireland protocol is “politically motivated”, the European Commission vice-president has suggested.

Speaking exclusively to Sky’s political editor, Beth Rigby, Maros Sefcovic said the legislation appeared to reflect the prime minister’s domestic struggles more than issues with the deal itself.

“I can’t resist the impression that the tabling of the bill is politically motivated, but it’s not our role to comment on UK domestic politics,” he said.

“Our doors for negotiations will always be open. I am ready to speak to all political leaders in Northern Ireland and all stakeholders,” he said in an interview on Beth Rigby Interviews tonight.

The law project – presented to parliament earlier this week – would give ministers the option to unilaterally scrap significant sections of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

The Northern Ireland Protocol was signed as part of the deal, which sets the terms for the UK’s “divorce” from the bloc.

It aims to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland while protecting the EU single market by allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the UK customs area while respecting EU rules on goods that could enter the bloc via the Republic of Ireland.

This requires checks to be carried out on goods traveling from Britain to Northern Ireland, which critics of the protocol say has changed Northern Ireland’s position in the UK by creating a border in the Irish Sea.

The UK government says this has caused unacceptable challenges for businesses and is preventing the resumption of power-sharing arrangements put in place following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Read more: ‘A mess’, ‘unrealistic’, ‘doctrine of necessity’ – three views on Northern Ireland protocol divisiveness

Sky's political editor Beth Rigby interviews European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic

The DUP trade unionist has refused to join the executive alongside Sinn Fein until his issues with protocol are resolved.

Mr Johnson said he was in favor of a negotiated solution with the EU and that the controversial legislation is just an “insurance” in case that is not possible.

But Mr Sefcovic disputed that narrative, expressing frustration that the UK is seeking to unilaterally scrap parts of the deal when it only recently signed it as part of an international treaty.

“We agreed it, we ratified it and we are still talking about it and of course what is still sensitive for us and even very damaging for our relationship is this constant violation of international law and it is something something we’re not used to from the UK,” he told Sky News.

Yesterday Mr Sefcovic confirmed that Brussels would resume legal proceedings against the UK, who were suspended in September, for breaching the EU withdrawal treaty agreed in 2020.

Speaking at a press conference, he said: Mr Sefcovic said: ‘If the UK doesn’t respond within two months, we can bring them to justice.’

Watch Maros Sefcovic’s full interview on Beth Rigby Interviews… tonight at 9pm on Sky News, and catch up again on Sky Showcase at 8am Friday.


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