Controversy over Northern Ireland comes to a head

Controversy over Northern Ireland comes to a head

The European Union Commission is trying to reduce the controversy over the customs bureaucracy in Northern Ireland, but the British government is counting on an increase. Commission Vice-Chairman Maros efčovič presented in Brussels on Wednesday evening relief Which, according to the authority, would halve the bureaucratic effort of customs declarations for British companies. The number of checks on truckloads at Northern Ireland ports is expected to be as low as 80 percent for several product groups. But even before the presentation, London made further demands that are out of the question for Brussels.

British cabinet member Oliver Dowden said in a television interview on Wednesday that the “Northern Ireland Protocol” agreed during Brexit talks should be radically changed. “A big problem for us” is the fact that the European Court of Justice has the final word on disputes. However, the Commission is refusing to renegotiate the protocol and stresses the important role for the Luxembourg EU court. If the dispute comes to a head, Brussels could eventually impose punitive charges.

The protocol is part of the exit treaty that the European Union and Great Britain signed in 2019 and aims to prevent customs officials from inspecting trucks between the Republic of Ireland and British Northern Ireland. After all, it could put pressure on the peace process if a barely perceptible border reappears. The protocol therefore stipulates that the formerly troubled province of Northern Ireland will continue to comply with EU excise regulations and customs regulations despite Brexit. One consequence is that the delivery of goods from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland must be checked. The new customs bureaucracy resulted in some goods becoming scarce in stores. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Responsible Minister Lord David Frost therefore arbitrarily extended the transition period, protecting companies from the full rigors of the customs regime.

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This week, Frost presented his own, more far-reaching reform ideas to the commission’s vice chairman čovič. The two politicians are due to meet this Friday and start talks. A government spokesman in London said after efčovič’s speech that the proposals would be examined “seriously and constructively”. Frost warned in an appearance on Tuesday that he would use Article 16 of the protocol if no agreement was reached. This article allows the rules to be repealed if they lead to economic and social upheaval.

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The coming weeks will be crucial, Frost said, and it will be a “historically wrong decision” if the EU refuses to undertake fundamental reform. The EU may react to the activation of Article 16 after dispute resolution with punitive tariffs. In Brussels, most now assume that London will follow this route.

The Commission does not see its proposals as irreversible but as a basis for negotiation. At the same time, efčovič said that he would not submit any other packages. It is also a condition for the concessions that London fulfills its outstanding obligations under the Protocol, for example with regard to the construction of border posts at ports or access to EU customs databases.

Interestingly, Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has now said that the government never intended to implement the protocol as agreed with the European Union. The plan was to reach an agreement in exit talks with Brussels and then “get rid of the parts we don’t like,” he wrote. Twitter.

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