LONDON: Ireland’s foreign minister has warned that there risks a “further breakdown in ties” with the EU ahead of talks this week aimed at resolving the impasse over the British demand Brexit deal.
Simon Coveney posted the comment on Twitter after Britain’s Brexit minister reiterated his insistence that the European Court of Justice should not be allowed to oversee the implementation of the deal. Coveney described this as a new “red line” that would impede progress in negotiations.
He wrote, “Does (the UK government) really want an agreed path forward or further sever ties?”
The European Commission is expected to publish its proposals this week to break the impasse over the trade arrangement for Northern Ireland, the only part of Britain that has a land border with the 27-nation bloc. The British government has sought to renegotiate that part of its divorce deal with the European Union that requires customs and border checks on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.
The rules aim to ensure that goods entering the EU’s single market meet European standards, while keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process. But the Czechs have angered Northern Ireland federalists, who say they undermine the region’s ties with the rest of Britain and make it harder for businesses to operate.
“The role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland and the resulting inability of the UK government to properly implement the very sensitive arrangements in the Protocol have created a profound imbalance in the way the Protocol operates,” British negotiator David Frost said in Lisbon on Saturday. said in a remark issued before a speech. “Without the new arrangements in the region, the protocol will never get the support it needs to survive.”
The Times of London reported on Saturday that Brussels could offer unhindered access to products associated with British “national identities,” such as Cumberland sausages. The proposal is an attempt to avoid the so-called sausage war over cold meat crossing the Irish Sea.
Frost’s office suggested on Saturday that EU concessions would have to “go far beyond sausage”.
During a speech at the Conservative Party convention last week, Frost threatened to introduce a controversial break clause in the divorce deal if the EU was unwilling to make concessions on Northern Ireland.
Frost said the Brexit agreement, which he negotiated and signed by Britain and the European Union, was undermining peace in Northern Ireland and causing “instability and disruption”.
Unless there are major changes to the deal, Britain will invoke Article 16, a provision that allows both parties to suspend the deal in exceptional circumstances. Britain, however, has made this threat before, and Frost did not pull the trigger.
“But we can’t wait forever,” he said.