Britain puts forward proposals for “significant changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK government this Wednesday has called for “substantial changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol Agreement in the wake of Brexit, ignoring the possibility of a total repeal and the bet on a “new balance” to relocate relations between London and the European Union.

The UK executive later today released a document entitled “The Protocol in Northern Ireland: the way forward” stating that this protocol “in some of its main objectives” is not delivering the expected results, particularly in relation to internal trade in the country.

So the document foresees a number of changes to the protocol, including “the use of a stricter, more precise and evidence-based approach to prevent goods from entering the internal market” that London would meet the maritime customs requirements between Ireland and the EU, although for Goods to the rest of Northern Ireland should not incur any additional costs.

Britain puts forward proposals for “significant changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol
Britain puts forward proposals for “significant changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol

London has further argued that there is a need to ensure that businesses and customers in Northern Ireland can maintain “normal access” to goods from the rest of the UK without “tolerating other standards” in the regulatory context in Northern Ireland Brussels.

On the other hand, he called for “the governance base of the protocol to be normalized so that relations between the UK and the EU are not ultimately monitored by the EU institutions, including the Court of Justice (ECJ)”. “We need to return to a normal contractual framework where governance and disputes are settled collectively through international arbitration,” he said.

The document includes statements from Prime Minister Boris Johnson highlighting London’s efforts to implement the Brexit agreement and regretting that “a vital area of ​​this society is not functioning well” in relation to the Additional Protocol on Ireland from the North.

“These agreements represented a tremendous commitment from the UK aimed at protecting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions,” he argued, stressing that the UK government “expects both parties to recognize the need to (the Protocol) in a manner that takes into account the unique context of Northern Ireland, as required by the Protocol itself. “

The ‘Prime Minister’ stated that “this was vital not only for trade or commercial reasons, but also because of delicate political and national identity issues” before stating that “it is not possible in these agreements to operate in a way that is possible “. sustainable, especially not in the inflexible position that the EU seems to want. “

In this way he pointed to a “deep” impact of the protocol at “economic, political, social and commercial” level, which damaged relations with the regional bloc, for which he repeated that “the problem is not one rigid and little helpful application of the protocol in its current form. “

“The difficulties are so great that I had to consider whether a protective measure was necessary under the framework provided for in Article 16 of the Protocol. My conclusion is that the circumstances we are in would justify this, but I have come to the conclusion that there is still “an opportunity to act differently and strike a new balance with the EU in the application of the Protocol as I believe there is still the political will to tackle the issues shared by the parties, “he said.

Johnson has argued that “this new balance must include substantial changes to the existing protocol” to ensure that “Northern Ireland’s place in the UK, its customs territory and internal market are fully respected while (UK) has its role in upholding the integrity of the EU internal market “.

With this in mind, he praised the proposals made “necessarily ambitious” and noted that “the spirit of the peace process has always required the adaptation and further development of solutions to address the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland”.

For their part, UK Government Brexit Secretary David Frost and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lweis defended in the same document that “a positive context has emerged compared to the enormous uncertainty and drift into which the Protocol was originally Has taken shape, so there’s a chance. “

They have affirmed that “the protocol only partially achieves its objectives” and warn against “changing supply chains, increasing costs and reducing options for customers, as well as unnecessary restrictions that would completely divert trade or economic activity Damage in Northern Ireland. “

“We want to build a relationship with the EU that reflects our strong common interests and values, as well as our common history. However, our relationship develops in a way that is marked by persistent disagreement and distrust. This is not in our interest. ” “Frost and Lewis pointed this out.

It is for this reason that they have chosen to “avoid a situation where this becomes the permanent pattern in future relations with the EU”, arguing that if this does not change, “stability” in Ireland could be compromised.

“The government is seeking a new position based on negotiation and the search for a new and lasting consensus. Our hope and aim is to change the current course as it risks undermining the basic objectives of the protocol” , they said earlier on calling the EU to be “good neighbors”.

Frost and Lewis, however, recognized that “there can be political opposition and frustration over the ability to reconsider important aspects of the Protocol,” but defended that “there is a better way for all” and “a shared responsibility to do everything possible.” to do”. to be found as soon as possible “.

“A solid consensus can be reached in which all parties achieve their goals and move forward. There is no political advantage to anyone if they fail to address these issues coherently or continue to circumvent periodic cliffs or constraints that permanently undermine stability, ”they added.

Finally, they stressed that these changes “require a significant change to the Protocol” although “they will not take away many of its concepts”. “We stand ready to ensure that the East-West processes are aligned with real risks to avoid unnecessary friction with goods remaining in the UK, but fully apply the EU legal processes to goods going into the EU.”

Frost himself told the House of Lords this Wednesday that negotiations with the EU “have not addressed the crux of the problem” and called for a temporary “halt” that includes suspension of all EU legal action and grace periods for trade in goods , including frozen meat.

In this regard, he stressed that the UK is ready to look into “exceptional data delivery and collaboration agreements” and “fines in legislation” to deter those who attempt to move products without the rules between Northern Ireland and Ireland to comply. “As reported by the British newspaper ‘The Guardian’.

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