Brussels is reportedly “prepared for the worst” as it awaits Britain’s response to a series of measures proposed to break bureaucracy in the Irish Sea.
The European Commission has taken steps to reduce regulatory checks by 80% and dramatically reduce customs clearance procedures for the movement of goods, especially food and agricultural products, between the United Kingdom and the island of Ireland.
The UK Government welcomed the announcement last night (Wednesday, October 13) and indicated that it wanted “intensive talks” to follow the EU’s proposal to address the turmoil caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol. ..
A spokesperson for the British government said, “The EU is currently announcing proposals in response to the proposal.”
“We are studying the details and of course consider them seriously and constructively.
“The next step is to focus on both sets of proposals that will be implemented quickly to determine if there is a common basis for finding a solution.
“In order to agree on a lasting settlement ordering assistance in Northern Ireland, we need to make significant changes to address the fundamental issues at the heart of the Protocol, including governance.”
The reduced check system proposed by the EU will also rule out the possibility that certain UK produce, including Cumberland sausages, will be banned from export to the region.
The EU plan also includes a 50% reduction in customs clearance required to move goods from the UK to Northern Ireland.
In return, the trade bloc is calling for safeguards to provide additional assurance that products allegedly destined for Northern Ireland will not cross the Irish border.
This includes labeling specific products, clarifying that they are only sold in the UK, increased monitoring of supply chain movements, and access to real-time trade flow information.
Maroš Šefchovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, said the block put a lot of effort into devising an “alternative model” to implement the Protocol.
“We have investigated every possible angle of the Protocol, sometimes beyond current EU law,” he said at a press conference in Brussels yesterday.
He added: “This robust package of practical and imaginative solutions allows us to continue implementing the protocol in Ireland / Northern Ireland for the benefit of all communities on earth.
“It not only enhances stability and predictability, which are essential elements for the prosperity of the local economy, but also paves the way for expanding opportunities.”
A series of measures will help reduce the daily friction on trade caused by the Protocol, but they do not address the UK’s demand for the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Sir Frost, Britain’s Minister of Brexit, has stated that the removal of court oversight in the protocol crackdown would be a red line for the government if a compromise was reached.
Under the terms of the Protocol agreed by the United Kingdom and the EU as part of the 2020 Withdrawal Agreement, the ECJ will be the ultimate arbitrator of future trade disputes between the parties regarding the operation of the Protocol.
The UK now wants to remove that clause and replace it with an independent arbitration process.
The European Commission argues that it does not work on the ECJ issue.
Sir Frost warned that if an acceptable compromise could not be reached, the UK could move to suspend parts of the Protocol by invoking the Article 16 mechanism.
He argued that the reach of the ECJ was an important issue and told broadcasters: “
“So I think we need to change that in order to find a governance arrangement that people can live with.”
The EU plan corresponds to a series of counter-proposals in response to the Protocol Reform Hope List outlined by the UK Government in July.
Proposals from both sides are set to lay the foundation for new negotiations between Brussels and London in the coming weeks.
The Northern Ireland Protocol has been agreed by the United Kingdom and the EU as a way to avoid the Irish border, a major obstacle to Brexit’s divorce negotiations.
It achieved that by moving regulatory and customs checks and processes to the Irish Sea.
This arrangement has created new economic barriers to goods moving from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland.
This has caused turmoil in many Northern Ireland companies and has caused major political headaches for the government as union members and loyalists are furious at what they perceive as a weakening of the coalition.
EU proposals were welcomed by Irish political leaders yesterday evening, and Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin described them as “a clear step forward and a solution to the problem.”
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After setting up changes to the NI protocol, Brussels "prepares for the worst" from the UK
Source link After setting up changes to the NI protocol, Brussels "prepares for the worst" from the UK