LONDON — For months battle over the status of Northern Ireland has been the most thorny legacy of brexit, die even sparked a conflict known as the “sausage wars.” Now Britain has raised the bar by demanding that: post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland that it agreed two years ago demolished and replaced.
The European Union has responded call Wednesday with a radical plan to resolve practical problems by that Brexit treaty — the Northern Ireland protocol – that has led to a full-scale confrontation between Britain and the bloc. It’s a fight die can upset the United States.
The protocol aims to resolve one of the most complex issues of Brexit: what to do? the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, that remains part of the European Union.
According to the new proposal from Brussels, checks on food and animal products die going from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland would be reduced against 80 percent, customs papers for shipments of many goods would be cut and the flow of medicines would be guaranteed.
“Today package has the potential to real, tangible difference on the ground,” said Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission, the executive branch body of the 27-nation bloc, adding that this amounted to an “alternative” model for implementation of the protocol.”
But he offered no concession over An demand made on Tuesday through Great Britain for a full new agreement, one that would delete everything role for the European Court of Justice, the highest court of the bloc, as arbitrator in disputes. Had that idea already rejected by Brussels.
In front of critics of Mr Johnson, the gorge over the protocol is proof of his defect of reliability, his willingness to break international pledges and its denial of responsibility for the consequences of the withdrawal from Europe die he defended. Mr Johnson’s allies blame the European Union of inflexibility in to apply rules, a pettifogging defect of sensitivity on feelings in components of Northern Ireland and vengeful hostility to Britain for leave the block.
Behind all the roar is the fear over the fragility of the peace in Northern Ireland die the bet beyond die to increase of typical trade disputes. President Biden, who talk often over his Irish descent, has already warned Mr Johnson not to do anything to undermine the Good Friday Agreement that helped end the violence.
What is Northern Ireland? protocol?
It is fair to say that while the agreement sounds like the title of a spy thriller, it’s basically a dry legal text die won’t be found on most peopleholiday reading lists.
The border between Northern Ireland, die remains in the United Kingdom and Ireland, that is in the European Union, is disputed, and share of it became in strengthened over the decades of violence known as “The Troubles.” But after the peace agreement on Good Friday in 1998, die visible signs of division have melted away along the open border. new one wants checkpoints back, but as part of his Brexit plan, Mr Johnson insisted on leave the customs of Europe union and it’s single market, die allows goods free without checks over the European borders.
The protocol sets out a plan to deal with this unique situation. It does this by effectively leaving Northern Ireland half within the European system (and his giant) market), and half within the British one. It sounds neat — logical, even — until you try to make it work.
Why does Britain not? like the?
The plan means: more checks on goods die Entering Northern Ireland from mainland Great Britain, effectively creating a border down the Irish Sea and dividing the United Kingdom. faced met with all the new bureaucracy, some UK companies have shut down met to deliver stores in Northern Ireland, die says they just can’t handle it added paperwork needed now.
This has infuriated some conservative lawmakers and fueled sentiment among them in Northern Ireland who want the region until remain part of The United Kingdom. The trade unionists, mainly Protestants, identify as British and believe that the… changes could threaten them future in The United Kingdom.
So while I’m not in am able to get the right kind of sausages may look like like An small inconvenience, for many union members, it feels like their British identity is what… in the fryer.
Why does the EU insist? on the?
The block has dug in hot on the heels, in part because Mr. Johnson signed on to the protocol, but also because he himself over negotiated and pushed it through the British Parliament.
British critics blame the Europeans of being overly strict and legal in their interpretation of the protocol, and of being overzealous met the checks required.
But EU leaders believe the bloc’s existential interests are being looked after risk. For Brussels, the single market is one of are cornerstones and the says it has to control what comes in. If that is undermined, it could pose a threat to the building blocks of European integration.
how about it met die sausages?
Below the protocol, foods with animal origin – yes, like sausages – sourced from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland need health certificate to ensure they meet European standards should they end up in Ireland, which is still part of the single of the European Union market.
The British want An light-to touch system – that is, one in where minimal checks are – on goods die companies will keep promising in Northern Ireland.
But the European Union wants Britain to do that sign up to Europe’s health certification rules to minimize the need for controls. so far a lot of has deviated from the Regulations during a “grace period”, and, if established, the latest proposals from Brussels should take the sizzle out of the “worst wars.”
What would happen if Britain withdrew from the? protocol?
Britain says it has grounds already an emergency clause in known as Article 16, die her in enables it to act unilaterally, effectively suspending parts of the protocol. It does not intend to do this for the moment, but the option remains on the table.
If Britain does this, the European side would most likely accuse Mr Johnson? of breaking a treaty. This could be lead in retaliation and a possible trade war between Britain and the European Union.
Is this all just a negotiation tactic?
That is likely.
During the endless Brexit talks, Mr Johnson often played hard with the Europeans, sometimes relying on on a so-called madman strategy and threaten to leave the block without any deal.
So this is possible just be a different role of the negotiating dice, and most analysts believe that, for the British, the best result would win concessions on the protocol from Brussels.
The European Commission’s response was to talk met business and other groups in Northern Ireland and to focus on solving their practical problems. It hopes that the concessions offered on Wednesday will do business groups in Northern Ireland, if not all the requirements of the government in London. However, Brussels has limited room for maneuver if Britain really pushes demand for a change in the role of the European Court of justice in settle disputes.
Isn’t it risky then?
Yes, want in the end Mr Johnson has no real alternative to the protocol short of ripping it up and dare the Republic of Ireland to revive the Irish border in to blow. That would fuel sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, provoke trade war with Brussels and ramp up tension with the Biden administration.
Monika Pronczuk contributed to reporting from Brussels
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