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Britain wants to push for changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol without EU approval

Britain wants to push for changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol without EU approval

Updates: 17.05.2022 19:08

LONDON/BRUSSELS – Britain wants to unilaterally push for changes to the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the country’s withdrawal agreement. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told the British Parliament today. According to her, the government intends to pass a law in the coming weeks that will facilitate the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. Such a move would violate the legally binding Brexit agreement Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed with Brussels less than two years ago, the Associated Press wrote. Brussels warned today that unilateral measures taken by London are unacceptable and that the European Union will respond to them.

The European Union rejects changes to the complex protocol, arguing that solutions to the problems of transporting goods to Northern Ireland can be achieved without them. But Britain has now tightened its long-running dispute and has made clear it will enforce the law without Brussels’ approval.

EU Vice-President and EU negotiator Maros Shevsowicz said today that if London takes unilateral action, Brussels will respond “with all available means”. According to the commissioner, the unilateral action by London is unacceptable and contradicts the international agreements signed. However, it was widely written that the EU was ready to continue negotiations Declaration Posted after Truss letter.

The planned British law raises concerns in Brussels for three reasons, Shivovich wrote. The Northern Ireland Protocol is a codification of progress in the peace process. The protocol is an international agreement and unilateral changes to a treaty are not acceptable. In addition, the agreement is a necessary basis for a future trade and cooperation agreement, according to the statement.

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Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney warned last week that if London finally resorted to unilateral changes to protocol, it could expect legal action from the European Union as well as potential countermeasures. Coveney said today that the UK government’s actions are undermining trust and will make it increasingly difficult to find a solution.

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is a fierce critic of Britain’s exit from the European Union, has decried the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol as “cruel and irresponsible”. “This is a treaty signed by Boris Johnson and what the British government is saying about the responsibility and the seriousness that the British government is giving to international treaties is very worrying,” Sturgeon said.

According to Truss, the planned changes are in line with international law. “We still prefer to find a solution in negotiations with the European Union, and even when we prepare the law, we are open to further discussions,” the head of diplomacy told MPs.

Thanks to the Northern Ireland Protocol, after Brexit, the border with Ireland, which is still a member of the European Union of 27, remains open. However, at the same time, the region has partially lost its strong ties with the rest of Britain, with some goods moving between the two islands now subject to strict controls.

The British government decided to escalate the row with the union after the Republican Sinn Fein, which seeks to unite Ireland, won the regional parliamentary elections in Northern Ireland earlier this month. However, Northern Ireland’s DUP refused to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with it precisely because of reservations to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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EU and Britain Brexit diplomacy