Britain is set to pressure the EU this week to change its post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland, according to a draft speech released on Saturday.
Britain’s Brexit Minister David Frost will use a speech in Lisbon on Tuesday to say there should be “significant changes” to the agreement, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, by the European Union on its own to break the impasse. A day before the expected release of the proposals.
The protocol was negotiated as part of Britain’s divorce from the EU to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland by effectively placing the province in the EU’s single market.
But it has sparked outrage among pro-UK federalists in Northern Ireland, who argue that the arrangement creates a trade border between Great Britain and the province, undermining its constitutional status in the union.
One of the most controversial side-effects caused by Britain’s post-Brexit break with EU food hygiene laws was the EU’s ban on British sausages and cold meat being imported into Northern Ireland – called the “sausage war”.
Frost, who was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator in the run-up to Britain’s departure, has spent much of his time in cabinet, as he tries to persuade the EU to uncover the withdrawal agreement that it takes to deliver. That was important.
He would say that any solution in Brussels would have to go beyond simply solving the sausage row, as the British press reported that the EU was ready to lift the embargo.
The European Commission will on Wednesday take up proposals for a frictionless trade in “goods of national identity” such as sausages for communities in Northern Ireland, the Times newspaper reported.
Frost will reiterate the UK’s desire to strip the European Court of Justice of its role governing the Protocol, which he says has “created a profound imbalance”.
He would say that “no one should have any doubts about the seriousness of the situation” and once again warned that Britain would suspend the protocol if a solution was not reached.
“The EU now needs to show ambition and willingness to tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol,” the Brexit minister would say.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NB staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)