Wednesday, 6 Jul 2022

Truss unveils radical Brexit master plan to end EU row – but bitter Brussels STILL furious

PM sets out ‘insurance’ plan to rewrite Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal

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The Foreign Secretary announced new legislation in the House of Commons that would help end the friction caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol while still respecting the EU’s single market. The plans would end the requirement for bureaucratic customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea to the province that have undermined the UK’s internal market since the end of the Brexit transition period.

Instead, goods which are travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are set to stay in the UK will be allowed to use a “green lane”.

Any companies found to be using the system to smuggle goods into the EU via the Republic of Ireland will be hit with heavy fines.

“Our preference remains the negotiated solution with the EU.

“And in parallel with the legislation being introduced, we remain open to further talks if we can achieve the same outcome through negotiated settlement,” Ms Truss said.

She added the Bill will put in place the “necessary measures to lessen the burden on east-west trade” and will “ensure the people of Northern Ireland are able to access the same benefits as the people of Great Britain”.

The minister went on: “The Bill will ensure that goods moving and staying within the UK are freed of unnecessary bureaucracy through our new green channel.

“This respects Northern Ireland’s place in the UK in its customs territory and protects the UK internal market.

“At the same time, it ensures that goods destined for the EU undergo the full checks and controls applied under EU law. This will be underpinned by data-sharing arrangements that I have already set out.

“It will allow both east-west trade and the EU single market to be protected whilst removing customs paperwork for goods remaining in the United Kingdom.

“The Bill will remove regulatory barriers to goods made to UK standards being sold in Northern Ireland. Businesses will be able to choose between meeting UK or EU standards in a new dual regulatory regime.”

Britain has been locked in talks on the Protocol with the EU for more than six months but no breakthrough has so far been found.

She said a legislative solution was about reforming the Northern Ireland Protocol rather than scrapping it and that the Government’s actions remained consistent with Britain’s obligations in international law.

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Truss said the lack of progress was largely due to Brussels’ refusal to re-open the terms of the international treaty.

She said that while the Government remained eager to find a negotiated solution with the EU, Britain would take action unilaterally if the bloc failed to engage in re-opening the terms of the Protocol.

The minister invited the EU’s Maros Sefcovic to London for talks on the legislation which is set to be debated in Parliament in the coming weeks.

Before Ms Truss even unveiled her plan, the EU appeared to reject the touted solution.

The European Commission said Britain must continue negotiating based on the proposals put forward rather than introducing legislation without the support of Brussels.

Spokesman Daniel Ferrie told a press briefing in Brussels this morning: “I think our message is loud and clear: engaging with us on the basis of the proposals we put forward last October, engaging with us on those flexibilities, is a much better course than engaging unilaterally.”

More to follow…

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