EU Quickly Rejects Uk’s Demand To Rip Up Northern Ireland Protocol

EU Quickly Rejects Uk’s Demand To Rip Up Northern Ireland Protocol

By Tony O’Riley-

The EU has rejected the UK’s demand to rip up the Northern Ireland Protocol, within three hours of the audacious demand being made in Parliament.

“We will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol,” said Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president, in an official statement.

The rejection came after a new UK “command paper” insisted the agreement must be frozen and radically reframed. Prime Minister Borisd Johnson had apparently hailed the paper as a fantastic piece of work. EU bosses strongly disagree, and took steps to extend the current impasse, by dismissing the proposals as unworkable.

The demands include abandoning full Irish Sea trade checks – due to start in October, when “grace periods” expire – and for Brussels to shelve legal action for non-implementation of existing terms.

The UK also wants the Protocol to “no longer be policed by EU institutions and courts of justice” – the bedrock for ensuring London can be punished for non-compliance, in EU eyes.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said: “We take note of the statement made by Lord Frost.”

“We will continue to engage with the UK, also on the suggestions made today. We are ready to continue to seek creative solutions, within the framework of the protocol, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland. However, we will not agree to a renegotiation of the protocol.”

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said: “The EU has consistently said it is ready to find flexible, practical approaches to address the difficulties citizens in Northern Ireland are experiencing as regards the implementation of the protocol.

“However, any solutions must take place within the framework of the protocol and the principles that underpin it.”

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office minister Baroness Chapman said: “The Government promised to get Brexit done. And yet here it is trying to unpick it.”

UK wants to replace the protocol with a light touch “honesty box” system allowing companies to self-register goods going to Northern Ireland.

The UK’s alternative stopped short of ripping up the document completely or arguing the time was right to trigger the article 16 provision that enables either the UK or EU to suspend part of the arrangements in extreme circumstances.

The rejection could intensify tensions between the Uk and the EU, which has long been in motion ever since Brexit was formalized.

Mr Sefcovic said: “We take note of the statement made by Lord Frost today.

“We will continue to engage with the UK, also on the suggestions made today. We are ready to continue to seek creative solutions, within the framework of the protocol, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland. However, we will not agree to a renegotiation of the protocol.”

He added: “We must prioritise stability and predictability in Northern Ireland. I look forward to speaking to Lord Frost soon.”

It comes after Lord Frost told peers on Wednesday the UK “cannot go on as we are” with the Northern Ireland Protocol – but s

 

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