UK mulls over EU plans it says will affect trade with Northern Ireland and undermine Good Friday deal | Political news


The UK will not hesitate to take action on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Liz Truss said some proposals put forward by the European Union during months of post-Brexit treaty talks would “set us back” and “fail to properly address the real issues affecting Northern Ireland”.

And after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the situation was ‘now very serious’, Ms Truss stressed the response ‘cannot be more checks, paperwork and disruption’.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has said that under EU proposals suggested in October, trade deals could deteriorate and everyday items could disappear from shop shelves in Ireland. North.

Ms Truss said: “Prices have risen, trade is badly disrupted and people in Northern Ireland are subject to different laws and taxes than those in the Irish Sea which has left them without an executive and constitutes a threat to peace and stability.

“Our preference has always been for a negotiated solution but (we) will not hesitate to take steps to stabilize the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found.”

His comments came after Boris Johnson spoke with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Tuesday about post-Brexit arrangements.

In an account of the call by Downing Street, the two leaders agreed on the vital importance of restoring devolved institutions in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which came second in last week’s Assembly elections in Northern Ireland, has warned the Prime Minister that it will not appoint a Deputy Prime Minister to form an executive until a “decisive action will not have been taken on the protocol”.

Mr Johnson is said to have made it clear that the situation regarding the protocol was now very serious.

He also said that the balance of the Belfast (Good Friday) agreement was compromised and that the recent elections had further demonstrated that the protocol was unsustainable in its current form.

“Despite repeated efforts by the UK government over many months to correct the protocol, including the sections related to the movement of goods and governance, the European Commission has failed to take the necessary steps to help deal with the disruptions. economic and political on the ground,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK Government would take action to protect peace and political stability in Northern Ireland if no solution could be found.”

The government’s determination to reform the protocol was underscored in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday with direct reference to the situation in the province.

“The continued success and integrity of the whole of the UK is of paramount importance to my government, including the internal economic links between all of its parts.

“My Government will prioritize support for the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and its institutions, including through legislation to address the legacy of the past [Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill].”

Read more:
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why is it important?

Fixing of Northern Ireland protocol ‘cannot be postponed’

However, Tanaiste (Deputy Head of the Irish Government) Leo Varadkar warned the British government against any unilateral action on the protocol.

Mr Varadkar told RTE: “We cannot have any unilateral action from the UK. This is an international agreement, they have to honor their obligations. I was in the Wirral with Boris Johnson. I know what he has accepted.

“The people of Northern Ireland have voted and they have not voted for a majority of MPs who want the protocol scrapped. So the UK government needs to take that into account. It’s a democracy and an election just happened. produce.”

An Irish government spokesman said the Taoiseach had urged Mr Johnson “to engage in intensified discussions between the EU and the UK to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the protocol”.

Then-Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern strokes a ‘peace dove’ with children as polls open in 1998 on a vote on whether to back the Friday peace deal Holy

The spokesman added: “He has made clear his serious concerns about any unilateral action at this time, which would destabilize Northern Ireland and erode trust.

“The Taoiseach stressed that the EU had engaged constructively in the protocol discussions, addressing the issue of medicines and proposing a substantial package of flexibilities and mitigations last October, including on arrangements customs and SPS.

“The Taoiseach stressed to the Prime Minister that the way forward should be through a continued commitment to reach agreed solutions between the EU and the UK that address practical issues relating to the implementation of the protocol. “

‘Not an option’

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said renegotiation of the protocol was “not an option” and that unilateral action by the UK would make it “more difficult “work on possible solutions.

“The EU is open to working together with the UK on the implementation of the protocol to bring legal certainty and long-term predictability to people and businesses in Northern Ireland,” it said. -he declares.

“The EU remains open to such discussions. Only common solutions will work. Unilateral action by the UK would only make our work on possible solutions more difficult.

“The Protocol, as the cornerstone of the Withdrawal Agreement, is an international agreement. Its renegotiation is not an option. The European Union is united in this position.”

Justice Minister Victoria Atkins declined to comment on whether action on the protocol would spark a trade war with the bloc, but told Newsnight on Tuesday that looking after the people of Northern Ireland remained the ‘top priority’ of the government.

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