.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, September 06, 2021

Government all at sea over Irish protocol

There is no better way to generate mistrust and suspicion in the international commmunity than to negotiate and sign an agreement and then renege on it, and Boris Johnson's government has done that in spades, with even the chief negotiator joining in to renounce the protocol he led on.

As the Guardian reports, David Frost, who is now a minister, has renewed his demands for fundamental changes on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol, warning the row could have a long-term chilling effect on wider EU-UK relations unless it was resolved.

The row over the protocol, known in some quarters as “sausage wars”, blew up within days of Brexit being enforced in January, with barriers imposed for the first time for trade of food, plants and medicines from Great Britain.

Frost has called on the EU to engage seriously with proposals for radical changes to the protocol published in a UK government command paper in July, arguing “the proposals do not remove it [the Northern Ireland protocol]” and actually “retain controls in the Irish Sea for certain purposes”:

He said society would not forgive either side if they did not make the “small muscle movements” needed to make the protocol work.

“When one looks at the price [of failure or success], and sets it against other challenges that we face in Covid recovery, and Afghanistan, one wonders what future generations would say” if the impasse is not broken.

“We have no interest at all in having a fractious and difficult relationship with the EU,” he said.

Frost was speaking hours after the Irish prime minister said at the same conference that unilateral moves by the UK would always be doomed to failure, arguing that history showed partnerships were the only route to success.

Talks over implementation of the protocol have continued between officials in London and Brussels over the summer but senior sources say engagement is “slow” and it is unlikely an agreement will be reached by 30 September, indicating talks will extend into the winter months.

Frost said the protocol had to be modified to recognise “two sovereign and autonomous entities, not a relationship of subordination or one where one party’s rules have to be applied mechanically by the other”.

The Northern Ireland Protocol contains over 31 pages of annexes listing every EU law that applies in Northern Ireland, including customs and animal health checks. It was negotiated by David Frost, signed willingly by the UK Government and made the centrepiece of the Tory re-election campaign in December 2019. Did anybody actually read it? It is little wonder the UK is losing credibility internationally.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?