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21st Jul 2021

EU rejects UK’s demand to rip up Brexit deal for Northern Ireland after less than three hours

Kieran Galpin

Maros Sefcovic

The Northern Ireland Protocol is not up for negotiation

The European Union (EU) has rejected the UK’s demand to negate the Northern Ireland Protocol only hours after Parliament sent the request. The EU’s response comes after a new UK “command paper” insisted the agreement be thoroughly reworked.

Called “a fantastic deal” by Boris Johnson back in 2019, the Northern Ireland Protocol sets out special circumstances for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Such demands include rejecting the Irish sea tax that was due to begin in October and Brussels to bench legal action for non-implementation of existing terms.

Parliament demands the protocol be “no longer be policed by EU institutions and courts of justice”.

“We will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol,” said Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president. He reiterated how the protocol was initially a joint decision, reached to solve the UK’s issues created by “the type of Brexit chosen by the British government”.

”In order for these objectives to be achieved, the Protocol must be implemented.”

Lord Frost has said that a threshold has been passed to “justify the use of article 16” which is the motive to suspend the Protocol entirely. However, the UK has no immediate plans to do so.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has stated: “Any solutions must take place within the framework of the Protocol and the principles that underpin it.”

“The Protocol was painstakingly negotiated under high political pressure, ensuring to minimise disruption and to help local communities and businesses. It cannot be renegotiated,” said David McAllister, chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
The British Chambers of Commerce said in a statement: “A negotiated solution on customs, agri-food and e-commerce deliveries which deals with all of the red tape issues, is preferable to unilateral actions.”
There are now just two months before full border control is set to be implemented. The Independent reports that the UK will test the EU’s resolve, to see if it escalates the disagreement to the courts or imposes checks unilaterally.