Britain to push need for ‘significant change’ in Northern Ireland protocol

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LONDON (Businesshala) – Britain will tell the European Union again next week that a “significant change” to the Northern Ireland Protocol is crucial to restoring the really good relations between London and Brussels.

FILE PHOTO: A ‘No Hard Border’ poster is seen below a road sign on the Irish side of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland near Bridgend, Ireland October 16, 2019. Businesshala/Phil Noble/File photo

The protocol was part of the Brexit divorce agreement Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated with the European Union, but London has said it would take less than a year after businesses faced obstacles when importing British goods into the province. should be rewritten.

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European Commission vice-president Maros Sefkovic, which oversees post-Brexit relations with Britain, said on Thursday that the EU executive would finalize measures next week, aimed at the end of the year in Northern Ireland or the beginning of 2022. to address post-Brexit business issues.

But Sefkovic reiterated that he would not renegotiate the protocol, and that a solution would have to be found within the terms of the deal designed to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

The European Commission’s measures are expected to be presented on Wednesday.

Britain’s Brexit Minister David Frost is due to deliver a speech to the diplomatic community in the Portuguese capital Lisbon on Tuesday.

According to excerpts from his speech released by his office on Saturday, he is expected to say that endless talks are not an option and that London will need to act using Article 16 safeguards if a solution is not swiftly agreed upon. Might be possible.

Article 16 allows either party to act unilaterally if the Protocol is considered to have a negative effect.

“No one should have any doubt about the seriousness of the situation … the EU now needs to show ambition and willingness to tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol,” the speech transcript said.

“UK-EU relations are strained, but this should not be the case. By putting the Protocol on a permanent basis, we have the opportunity to move on from the difficulties of the past year.”

Frost is also expected to signal a desire to free Northern Ireland from the oversight of European judges.

“The role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland and the resulting inability of the UK Government to properly implement the very sensitive arrangements in the Protocol have created a profound imbalance in the way the Protocol operates,” the transcript said.

“Without the new system in the region, the protocol will never get the support it needs to survive.”

Reporting by James Dewey Editing by Helen Popper and Paul Simao

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