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News > United Kingdom

UK Alters Trade Deal on Northern Ireland Despite EU Warning

  • British Prime Minister announced the introduction of a bill for modifying the post-Brexit trade deal with Northern Ireland. Jun. 13, 2022.

    British Prime Minister announced the introduction of a bill for modifying the post-Brexit trade deal with Northern Ireland. Jun. 13, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@PoliDigitalUK

Published 13 June 2022

On Monday, the British government announced the introduction of amendments to the Northern Ireland Protocol as a special provision to the Brexit withdrawal agreement ruling the customs between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, announced earlier on Monday the introduction of a bill in Parliament with amendments to the post-Brexit trade deal. These amendments are intended to ease the movement of goods from and to Northern Ireland to the UK by removing the "unnecessary" so-called bureaucratic red tape.

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"The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill will allow the government to address the practical problems the Protocol has created in Northern Ireland in 4 key areas: burdensome customs processes, inflexible regulation, tax and spend discrepancies, and democratic governance issues," announced the British authorities on Monday evening.

According to UK's government, these problems have affected the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland peace and resulted in the "collapse" of the shared power regarding agreements in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The announcement continued to explain that "following 18 months of discussions with the EU, the UK's preference remains for a negotiated solution to fix these problems which are baked into the Protocol. But the EU must be willing to change the Protocol itself. Ministers believe that the serious situation in Northern Ireland means they cannot afford to delay."

Brussels has opposed the introduction of such a bill, and Britain's opposition parties and republican forces in Northern Ireland itself repudiate the establishment of any agreements to rule remedial mechanisms, describing it as a violation of the Brexit deal and international law. Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary, said the UK's right to change the existing treaty if it interferes with the trade or threatens social cohesion.

"This is a reasonable, practical solution to the problems facing Northern Ireland. It will safeguard the EU Single Market and ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. We are ready to deliver this through talks with the EU. But we can only make progress through negotiations if the EU is willing to change the Protocol itself -at the moment, they aren't. In the meantime, the serious situation in Northern Ireland means we cannot afford to allow the situation to drift," said the British Foreign Secretary.

She considers that should help the bill pass; it would represent the "end of the untenable situation where people in Northern Ireland are treated differently to the rest of the United Kingdom, protect the supremacy of our courts and our territorial integrity."

According to the Irish media report, Brussels would take legal actions "as soon as Wednesday" against the British government as a retaliatory measure against the attempts of Johnson's administration to modify the agreement.

The European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said that the commission will be closely watching over the infringement proceedings against Britain "to protect the EU single market from the risks that the violation of the Protocol creates for EU businesses and the health and safety of EU citizens."


Boris Johnson
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