London and Brussels disagree on proposals for Northern Ireland

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The British prime minister suggests “significant changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but the president of the European Commission puts her foot down and says the EU will not renegotiate the text.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the president of the European Commission to analyze proposals to amend the Brexit agreement for the northern Ireland, but Ursula von der Leyen reiterated that she was unavailable to renegotiate.

The British government on Wednesday published a document that suggests “significant amendments” to the Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK Exit Agreement from the European Union, namely the removal of controls and documentation on certain products and the end of the Court’s jurisdiction of Justice of the EU.

The Prime Minister explained that the way in which the Protocol is currently operating is “unsustainable” and that “it was not possible to find solutions through the existing mechanisms of the Protocol”, said a spokesperson.

Boris Johnson urged the EU to “review these proposals seriously and work on them with the UK”, claiming that it is possible to find “reasonable and practical solutions” to the problems of circulation and supply of goods, especially of animal and vegetable origin. .

However, the president of the European Commission reiterated the answer, which had already been given the day before, that the EU will not renegotiate the text which took effect in January.

“The EU will continue to be creative and flexible under the protocol. But we are not going to renegotiate”, stated Ursula von der Leyen in Twitter, arguing that it is necessary to give “stability and predictability to Northern Ireland”.

O Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Brexit Agreement concluded in 2019, was designed to avoid a physical border on the island of Ireland, respecting the “open border” commitment set out in the 1998 peace accords.

However, it has created a “border” in the Irish Sea because Northern Ireland continues to follow EU rules, in particular for food products of animal and plant origin.

London holds the EU responsible for demanding excessive controls on goods shipped from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland, which has affected the arrival of goods in the province.

The situation is creating tensions in the region, which for three decades has been haunted by a sectarian conflict between unionists, in favor of remaining under the British crown, and republicans, who want reunification with Ireland.