Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

Whatever it takes! EU defiant over hated Brexit deal and still won’t budge on demands

EU protocols on Northern Ireland trade are 'nutty' says expert

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The news comes as the UK is to change tack in negotiations over the Protocol and will push for an “interim” deal to avert any further deterioration of political stability in the region. Lord Frost is set to propose a new approach based on a “staged solution” with a deal on customs declarations and physical checks on goods a priority to address the immediate impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. He will also suggest a new solution for governance, softening the UK’s demand that the European Court of Justice should be eliminated from dispute resolution entirely.

In a bold move by the European Union, the bloc’s vice-president Maros Sefcovic reached out to the people of Northern Ireland on Twitter.

He said: “I promised to do whatever it takes to ensure the continued supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.”

He added: “We’re now turning this genuine commitment to the people of NI into a lasting solution.”

Ending, the commissioner said: “The Protocol on IE/NI has the flexibility to work on the ground.”

Many reacted with gratitude to the EU minister’s tweet.

‘Damien’ said: “And we thank you for your continued support and flexibility, the people of NI acknowledge this! In contrast to the ‘little Englanders’ with their hidden agenda & continually moving goalposts!”

Others were not so EU-friendly.

‘Colin Dean said: “Allowing us to have medicines from within our country and we are meant to thank you for this.”

The two sides have been in intensive talks to resolve difficulties over trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which shares a land border with European Union member the Republic of Ireland.

A UK Government source told The Guardian: “Since the EU won’t address all the issues we put on the table now, we are willing to look at interim solutions which deal with the most acute problems.”

The source added: “But any such interim agreement must put a stop to the ECJ settling disputes between us and the EU, now and in the future.”

The change will be interpreted as a significant stepping back from the brink by Lord Frost who has threatened to blow up talks on several occasions by using Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which would allow it to suspend parts of the deal.

But it appears that fears the Stormont devolved government could collapse before the assembly elections in May have brought a renewed focus to issues.

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The EU will also announce plans for legislation to remove barriers to the supply of medicines in Northern Ireland.

Cambridge professor of EU law Catherine Barnard said the suggestions floating around Whitehall for a solution over the European Court of Justice had merit and would effectively mean swapping Article 12 of the Northern Ireland Protocol for Articles 169 to 174 of the overall withdrawal agreement.

She told The Guardian: “I’ve always thought this is a sensible compromise. But it requires compromise on both sides.”

The professor also said: “It would require the UK to recognise that there is some role for the ECJ but it would also require a big compromise for the EU because it would mean they didn’t have the full application of the EU remedy system to use in disputes.”

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