Britain and Ireland traded barbs on Twitter on Sunday after British Brexit negotiator David Frost reinstated his view that the EU should agree to a “significant change” to the Northern Ireland Protocol that would ease trade and border rules in the province. controls.
The protocol was part of the Brexit agreement Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated with the European Union, but London has repeatedly stated that it was delayed less than a year due to the barriers faced by businesses when importing British goods into Northern Ireland. Should be rewritten in time.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney asked on Twitter: “The real question: does the UKG (the UK government) really want to move forward in an agreed way or a further breakdown in ties?”
This drew a rebuke from Frost: “I prefer not to interact by Twitter, but since @simoncoveney has started the process…” Frost dismissed Coveney’s argument that he was making new demands, Stating that Britain’s concerns over the role of the European Court of Justice. The process was started three months back. “The problem is that very few people have heard,” Frost said.
On Saturday, Frost released excerpts from a speech he is due to call for change again this week and signaled a desire to free the protocol from the oversight of European judges. Responding to that, Ireland’s Coveney said Britain has created a new “red line” barrier to progress that it knows the EU cannot move forward.
The row comes at the start of a crucial week in the long-running debate over how to manage the flow of goods between Britain, Northern Ireland and the European Union.
EU package on customs, food, medicines
The European Commission is expected to introduce new measures on Wednesday to smooth trade, while preventing “significant changes” the London Protocol is calling for.
The measures are designed to ease customs controls, the clearance of meat, dairy and other food products and the flow of medicines from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland.
The commission will also plan to engage more with politicians, business people and others in Northern Ireland.
The proposals could enable supermarkets to supply their Northern Irish stores with sausages and other cold meat products from the UK that have been banned from entering the EU – and therefore in theory in Northern Ireland.
Throughout the remainder of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland remains in the EU’s single market for goods, meaning exports to the rest of the bloc face no customs checks, tariffs or paperwork. The result is an effective customs border in the Irish Sea, which upset GB-Northern Ireland trade and angered the province’s pro-British federalists.
Under the commission’s plans, for example, British sausages would be allowed in Northern Ireland, as long as they were intended only for Northern Irish consumers.
On Tuesday, a day before that announcement, Frost is due to deliver a speech to the diplomatic community in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
He would say that endless negotiations are not an option and that London will need to act using Article 16 safeguards if a solution cannot be swiftly agreed upon. Article 16 allows either party to act unilaterally if the Protocol is considered to have a negative effect.