Britain defies EU with ‘relatively trivial’ N.Ireland law -Breaking
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A tractor drives past an exit sign, and a sign for Belfast, on the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, Jonesborough, Northern Ireland. May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File photo
Kate Holton, Elizabeth Piper
LONDON, Reuters – Britain published Monday plans to bypass some post-Brexit trade regulations for Northern Ireland. It will scrap checks and challenge the European Union court’s role in a new conflict with Brussels.
While Ireland described the move as “new low”, and Brussels talked of damage to trust, Britain went ahead with steps that Prime Minister Boris Johnson said were “relatively minor” in order to increase trade and decrease bureaucracy.
Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, stated that Brussels would react in a proportionate manner but did not rule out renegotiating trade protocols.
Tensions simmered for months following accusations by Britain of the bloc’s restrictive approach to goods movement between Britain and Northern Ireland. This was in response to checks required to ensure an open border with EU member Ireland.
This is the most challenging part of the Brexit deal. It has sounded alarm bells in Washington DC and Europe. This has raised political tensions with pro-British groups claiming that their position in the United Kingdom may be being lost.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated that she was open to negotiations with the EU but had to agree to modify the agreement, which is causing severe problems for Northern Ireland.
“We are completely serious about this law.”
Britain points to Northern Ireland’s collapse as one reason it has written the legislation. It is only the beginning of a long process, which could take months before the bill becomes law.
According to legal advice, the court cited “doctrine de necessity”, which refers when governments can take law-breaking actions to safeguard stability as the basis of the move. This was based on the fact that conditions were satisfied by the Northern Ireland circumstances.
Britain is resentful that EU negotiations have failed. The legislation can be seen as an insurance policy and a bargaining chip. This bill may accommodate any agreement reached during those negotiations.
However, a trade dispute with the EU occurs at a moment when Britain’s economic situation is in its worst since decades. Inflation forecast to rise 10% while growth stagnates. Johnson stated that any discussion of trade wars would result in a “grossly, gross overreaction.”
Sefcovic, the EU’s representative to the bloc, stated that the bloc would not renegotiate protocol and described the notion as “unrealistic”.
Sefcovic stated in a statement that any renegotiation “would simply bring more legal uncertainty for peoples and businesses in Northern Ireland.”
Our goal will be always to ensure the Protocol’s implementation. We will respond proportionately to any unilateral actions taken by the UK.
Britain threatened long ago to end the protocol. This agreement kept Northern Ireland under EU rules. It also drew a border that prevented goods from entering the EU’s single market.
Now, it is making plans for a “green channel”, which will allow goods to be moved from Britain into Northern Ireland. It will also change tax rules to end the role of the European Court of Justice in disputes. The dual regulatory scheme would anger companies who fear increased costs.
Johnson’s Conservative Party divisions have been exposed once again by the move, one week after Johnson survived rebellion from his own parliamentarians.
While Brexit supporters believe it could go further than that, some critics fear it will undermine London’s international standing by challenging an international accord.
Northern Ireland had similar divisions.
Brussels claims unilateral change could be a violation of international law. Simon Coveney (Ireland’s foreign minister) said the British government believed it wasn’t.
EU might launch legal action to review or revise the terms of the Free Trade Agreement it reached with Britain. The EU has cast doubts on Britain’s participation in the Horizon Europe research program, which is worth $99 billion.
The United States encouraged Britain and EU to end their disagreements, while stating that it wanted to safeguard the 1998 peace accord for the province.
White House spokesperson stated, “The priority of the U.S. remains to preserve the gains from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement”
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