Boris Johnson government is an on a collision well with The EU, after announcing its intention to declare plans next break a week up post-Brexit trading orders for Northern Ireland.
United Kingdom prime minister told his Irish colleague Michael Martin on tuesday that current agreement with The EU was “unsustainable in This current form,” ignoring long-standing calls from EU capitals and Brussels not to take unilateral action.
What risks can be considered as a major escalation of tension between London and Brussels, two senior government insiders said the UK is preparing to announce legislation to abolish elements of Northern Ireland protocol as soon as next week “if the EU does not radically changes your approach.”
The British threat was met with immediate warnings from Brussels and major EU capitals that the EU had no intention of revision of the foundations of agreement that leaves Northern Ireland behind the EU rules for trading in products, creating border in Irish sea.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that any unilateral move unravel protocol will have effect in addition to relations between the EU and the UK.
“Not one should unilaterally cancel, violate or in Any way attack an agreement that we negotiated together,” he said, speaking alongside his Belgian counterpart Alexandre de Croo. who echoed EU warnings that UK unilateral action could eventually lead to trade war between London and Brussels.
“Our message is quite clear: Don’t touch it. . . If this agreement were withdrawn, then I would think that all system will be revoked. I don’t see any other solution,” De Croo said.
In Brussels, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, rejected Johnson’s arguments that protocol had to be redone or discarded.
protocol as a cornerstone of in [Brexit] termination agreement is international agreement. Its revision is not option. European Union is one in this position,” he said. in statement on Tuesday.
pressure on resolve old disagreements over in protocol was rekindled by rejection of in the regionpro-British Democratic Unionist party enter power- sharing in Northern Ireland after last weekly regional assembly elections before questions over in protocol addressed.
DUP says in trade orders in in protocol undermine the regionx place in the UK and must be disposed of. Tow of war over formation of leader raises perspective of months of political uncertainty, without a fully functioning delegated executive in Northern Ireland.
Political tensions intensified due to nationalist party Sinn Féin becomes the biggest party in in region for in first time.
In his call with Ireland’s representative, Johnson, told Irish leader Martin that the situation with in protocol was “now very serious” and undermined the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that secured peace in in region three decades later of conflict.
Johnson told Martin that Britain’s “repeated efforts” were not successful. in providing the necessary moves from Brussels and that “Great Britain government will take measures to protect peace and political stability in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found found’ according to Downing Street.
Martin urged Johnson to focus on working with EU on “practical issues arising in connection with the implementation and operation of of in protocol”. Ireland is a co-guarantor of Good Friday Agreement.
“What required now the correct answer of this effort and good faith offered by the European Union,” he said. in Dyle, Ireland parliament.
But Irish officials opined of deja vu though the details of proposals remained unclear. “We’ve been here so long times in in past,” said one.
Asked if the EU would compromise, Thomas Byrne, Irishman minister for European affairs told RTÉ on Tuesday evening when protocol itself was a compromise. “The European Commission has proposals on table to reduce checks go to Northern Ireland.
“What he [Šefčovič] wants a constructive discussion from the British. He said he wouldn’t changes to protocol the document itself, but there is a huge opportunity to make adjustments to protocol and the British have not yet taken advantage of these opportunities.
London is drafting a bill that allow UK abandon key sections of in protocol this cover trade and subsidy policy.
Focus of the proposed law, which could take many months to pass, would have to “disaggregate” goods intended for for Northern Ireland and those bound for the Republic of Ireland, according to UK officials.
Michelle O’Neill, regionх first minister-in- I expect from Sinn Féin, wrote on Twitter After the conversation with Johnson on tuesday that ” public there can’t be a pawn here in british government game of hen with EU”.
Senior UK government insiders said foreign secretary Liz Truss was expected to talk to Shefcovic.”in coming days” protocol. Pair last spoke 12 days ago.
However, in a clear sign of Britain’s determination to stand up to the EU over trading arrangements, Truss released a statement on Tuesday evening warning that EU proposals to facilitate implementation of in protocol may actually “worse” the deal.
” current EU proposals fail deal with real issues affecting Northern Ireland and in some cases will require us back,” she said, adding that protocol violated trade and now poses a “threat to peace and stability”.
She is added: “Our preference is always for agreed solution, but [we] will not shy away from taking measures to stabilize the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found found”.
EU diplomatic sources predict that latest British intervention looked deliberately provocative and would have been “really badly received” in Brussels.
Additional report by Andy Bounds in Brussels