European Commission has offered solutions to the dispute with the UK over the NI Protocol, which are unlikely to be accepted by London, and many experts say a disagreement will result in a Trade War Between the UK and EU.he
What are the European Commission’s proposals for resolving the dispute with the UK over the NI Protocol?
What has been UK’s response to the European Commission’s proposals for the NI Protocol?
What is the reason for UK’s insistence on renegotiating the NI Protocol with the EU?
What could happen if the UK-EU dispute over the NI Protocol continued?
Facilitating the Import of Some Goods to Northern Ireland
The aim of the European Commission’s new proposals is to facilitate the import of certain foods and medicines. Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s vice-president, said the protocol on Northern Ireland was being re-examined by all sides. He stressed that the EU is ready to adjust its rules to benefit the citizens of Northern Ireland. The EU has facilitated customs and import controls on certain products exported from the UK to Northern Ireland, such as food and medicine.
The EU Is Waiting for a Response from Britain
Šefčovič promised 80% fewer controls and a halving of customs formalities. The condition by Brussels is that the relevant goods be exported only to Northern Ireland under these conditions and that the remaining controls continue. Presenting these solutions, the European official stressed that now it is the turn of the UK government. He expressed confidence that both sides would reach an agreement soon. However, the question is whether Brussels’ proposals will be accepted in London.
UK Calls for Renegotiation with the EU
The UK government has repeatedly called for renegotiation of the NI Protocol. The UK also opposes Europe’s top court overseeing the NI Protocol. Of course, the European Commission has made it clear once again that the two are not negotiable for Brussels. If the two sides do not reach an agreement on this, the protocol will probably be repealed unilaterally and the issue, according to many experts, will lead to a trade war between the UK and the EU.
UK’s Cautious Response to EU Proposals
The UK government said it will study the details of the European Commission’s proposals for checks on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland and would look at them seriously and constructively. “The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is common ground to find a solution,” a government spokesman said. At the same time, he called for intensive negotiations to quickly determine whether there is a basis for a solution. He emphasised that fundamental changes needed to be made to key issues in the protocol so that a lasting solution also supported by Northern Ireland could be agreed on.
Loss of British Global Prestige
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has warned the UK government that if it becomes clear that it will never abide by the NI Protocol as part of Brexit previously agreed to, London will lose its global credibility. He said in an interview that in this case the message sould be sent to the whole world that this government is not necessarily faithful to its promises and will not fulfil the agreements that have been reached. Varadkar warned political leaders not to enter any agreements with the UK government until they are confident it will keep its promises.
Unilateral Action on the British Agenda
UK’s Brexit Minister David Frost has once again threatened Europe that London will put unilateral action on the agenda if it does not reform the NI Protocol. He once again threatened to activate the Northern Ireland Protection Mechanism under Article 16 of the NI Protocol if the EU did not accept UK’s proposed reforms. Article 16, or the Land Border Protocol with the EU, allows both sides to temporarily close the border with Ireland or establish border crossings in the event of economic, social and environmental problems.
The London-Brussels Dispute Over the NI Protocol
Following UK’s exit from the EU and the region’s single market, the UK has faced serious difficulties in sending goods to Northern Ireland, which is part of the country but subject to EU trade law, and has repeatedly called for renegotiation of the NI Protocol. The NI Protocol is one of the most controversial issues in post-Brexit relations between Brussels and London. According to the NI Protocol, imports of goods and services from the EU into Northern Ireland should not be subject to British customs tariffs, and the UK is required to comply with EU rules on trade in goods and services. The UK government wants to renegotiate the protocol despite the EU’s refusal. London has repeatedly threatened to activate Article 16 of the Bargaining Agreement.
Following the finalisation of UK’s exit from the EU at the beginning of the year, Northern Ireland has faced many food shortages. The main reason was to check and inspect products that had to cross the border of the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, to reach Northern Ireland. For several months now, Boris Johnson’s government has been urging the EU to renegotiate the provisions of the NI Protocol, which effectively established a customs border between the UK and Northern Ireland, in order to allow the free movement of goods between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. With the UK leaving the EU, it faces new challenges on its border with Ireland. The Irish-Northern Ireland border was one of the main reasons for the tensions and prolongation of negotiations between UK government officials and the EU during the Brexit talks. If the two sides fail to find a peaceful way to resolve the tensions between them, UK’s global reputation will be jeopardized. Boris Johnson is certainly to blame for the situation because reckless actions have put the British under economic pressures and increased the likelihood of a trade war between the UK and the EU, of which the UK was a member for 47 years and traded under its laws.