Boris Johnson has sworn to “do whatever we require to do” – consisting of an effort to override post-Brexit arrangements with the EU – in order to “make sure there is no barrier down the Irish Sea”.
Having actually held talks with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster on Wednesday morning, the prime minister later raised the prospect of activating Short article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It comes just days after the EU itself threatened – and then abandoned – an effort to invoke Article 16 as part of the bloc’s row with drugmakers over COVID vaccines and its efforts to present export controls on jabs.
On The Other Hand, Cabinet Workplace minister Michael Gove has actually sent his EU counterpart a series of needs, including an extension of the present three-month light-touch policy grace period for grocery stores, a contract on family pets, and a rethink of a ban on exports of seed potatoes from Fantastic Britain to Northern Ireland.
Short Article 16 is meant to be used when the Procedure – designed to prevent a post-Brexit tough verge on the island of Ireland and a crucial part of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement – is unexpectedly resulting in serious “financial, societal or environmental difficulties”.
It enables the UK or the EU to act unilaterally to avoid these problems.
On Wednesday Mr Gove satisfied European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic, Mrs Foster and Northern Ireland’s deputy minister Michelle O’Neill.
” I think I ‘d begin by saying to the EU: Northern Ireland is not developed to be the security zone for the European single market.
” If Europe wants to protect the single market, they should do so in the Republic of Ireland, do not use Northern Ireland for that function and let us get on with having an arrangement that actually works.
In an effort to make sure there is no difficult border on the island of Ireland, the Procedure enables Northern Ireland to remain under some EU rules.
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Why did the EU trigger Post 16?
Ahead of their talks on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Gove wrote to his EU equivalent with a series of demands.
– an extension of the current three-month light-touch guideline grace duration for grocery stores, following the end of the Brexit shift, until 2023
– an extension of temporary exemptions for pharmaceuticals, chilled meats and parcels crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, up until 2023
– a bilateral plan that “comprehensively addresses” the existing barriers to taking pets between Terrific Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland
– a rethink of the EU ban on exports of seed potatoes from Excellent Britain to Northern Ireland
Mr Gove likewise said the UK and Northern Ireland federal governments had “put together a larger list” of problems with the execution of the Protocol.
He informed Mr Sefcovic that the EU’s aborted triggering of Article 16 had “exceptionally undermined the operation of the Procedure and cross-community self-confidence in it”.
Mr Gove also looked for the EU’s assurances that it “will not seek to introduce any further procedures that would restrict or forbid the motion of any vaccines or medicines in to Northern Ireland”.
He included that the UK was seeking “immediate resolution” of issues with the Protocol.
Following Mrs Foster’s talks with Mr Johnson, the DUP stated the prime minister had informed her “his timetable for getting all these matters sorted is completion of March”.
The celebration, who are fiercely opposed to the Procedure, on Tuesday urged people to sign an online UK parliamentary petition calling for Mr Johnson to trigger Short article 16 as a method to “right away get rid of any barriers to unconfined trade” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Ahead of Wednesday’s talks, Mr Sefcovic described the Protocol as “a foundation” of the Withdrawal Arrangement and “the only method to secure Excellent Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all measurements, safeguarding peace & stability on the island of Ireland”.