UK and EU will clinch Northern Ireland Protocol deal if both can claim victory
By SEAMLESS DAILY
11 October 2021
The EU is close to the end of the road with the UK over the Northern Ireland protocol, accusing David Frost, the Brexit minister, of trying to undermine serious attempts to solve the problem, the Irish foreign minister has said.
"The problem with that is that it may work in the short term, in terms of getting compromises from the EU – but at some point in time the EU will say enough, we can not compromise any more without fundamentally undermining the functioning of the protocol in the context of the integrity of the EU single market.
And I think we 're very close to that point."
"This is being seen across the European Union as the same pattern over and over again- the EU tries to solve problems, the UK dismisses the solutions before they 're even published and asks for more."
The problem is that too few people seem to have listened," he said.
An appeal by unionists against a high court ruling that the protocol was legal was adjourned until after 31 October on Monday.
Ireland's foreign affairs minister has accused the UK of "shifting the playing field" away from solving issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Simon Coveney claimed Boris Johnson's government is dismissing solutions put forward by the European Union before they have been published.
On Tuesday the government's negotiator, Lord Frost, will present in Lisbon a new proposed legal text of the protocol, which is expected to remove the role of the Europe Court of Justice in the case of disputes.
The protocol is a key part of the Brexit deal struck between London and Brussels and is designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The demands of the EU and the UK about borders are irreconcilable – especially the new one between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
But having negotiated and signed up to the arrangement, the UK has now put forward proposals to change it.
The prime minister's official spokesman said the UK signed up to it in "good faith" but the way it is being operated by Brussels is unsustainable.
But speaking to RTE Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said : "Each time that the European Union comes forward with new ideas and new proposals to try and solve problems, they are dismissed before they are released, and that's happening again this week."
He said European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic and his negotiating team have been preparing measures to solve the issues with the protocol, proposals which will be set out on Wednesday.
But he said it is also "not very diplomatic" of the UK government to brief the British media.
It's a bit rich, quite frankly, because he is briefing the British media effectively to say 'Well, the EU can make the changes that they need to make, but actually it's not enough, we want more ', and now it's the ECJ that is the main issue," Mr Coveney said.
Subscribe to the All Out Politics podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker "Yes, it's true that they raised ECJ issues in a command paper in mid-summer, but the truth is, if the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, in terms of the functioning of the EU single market, was an absolute red line for the UK, why did they sign up to an agreement that allowed the ECJ to effectively be the final arbiter for the implementation of the protocol in Northern Ireland?
Since then, we ’ ve tried talking and it hasn ’ t worked.
Without a trade war deciding matters through brute economic and political force, Brexit could drag on indefinitely – the "forever Brexit" the Conservatives promised to end.
That would not be acceptable.
The protocol is as good as it ’ s going to get.
Changes to the protocol have been demanded by the four unionist parties in Northern Ireland.
However, from a European perspective this is unlikely to be acceptable.
The Irish minister for foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, has made it clear that while the EU is working to resolve the practical issues within the framework of the protocol, it will not be prepared to rewrite the terms of a deal that both sides had signed.
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