The Commission launches the battery of measures to reduce controls between Ulster and the United Kingdom in which it has been working for months
Brussels says ‘no’ to Boris Johnson’s latest reverie. It is neither going to put the Single Market at risk nor is it going to renounce the fact that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the arbitrator of eventual disputes in the trade agreement with the British. So he rejects the demand for a ‘new’ Irish protocol, which David Frost launched from Lisbon last Tuesday. He only says ‘yes’ to what was already planned: the battery of measures that will reduce customs controls between Ulster, which shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland (EU), and the rest of Great Britain.
Initiatives to overcome day-to-day obstacles in the flow of goods that advance in what is already stipulated in the agreement that was closed on Christmas Eve 2020, but that do not alter its essence. And that they are put on the table before London has even carried out any control in the area. The agreement is in force since February 1. But Johnson has been delaying it because of the covid, the pressure of the supply chains and his own laziness.
The point is that the entire “there will be no renegotiation” of the protocol was once again erected as the core message of the European Commission. A manual ‘deja vú’ that should not surprise London either, which refuses to comply with what it accepted, and which comes with a new claim at a time of low credibility of its government and with open ‘wars’ with partners such as France.
High tension due to fishing authorizations that do not fulfill the claims of Paris and the Elysee threatens to respond to a blow to power cuts. From Dublin, the government accused Boris Johnson’s government “of acting in bad faith” on Wednesday; It is not a reliable partner, Vice President Leo Varadkar used to say “and that is something that everyone has to know”
Thus Brussels pulls for the practical solutions in which it has been working for months with London and that it proposes not as a reaction to its latest stake but “to respond to the difficulties that people in Northern Ireland have been experiencing due to ‘Brexit'”. “Today’s proposals are our authentic answer to your concerns. We look forward to a serious and interesting participation from the United Kingdom ”in favor of Ulster, has insisted the Vice-President of the Commission, Maros Šefčovič. Measures that are added to the package launched last June, which facilitated the transit of live animals in the region.
A package that, in the opinion of the European Commission, “opens the way to the resolution of all pending implementation problems (of the protocol).” It is articulated in four blocks. The first, referring to food, plant and animal health (also phytosanitary issues) contemplates reducing controls by 80% with modification of requirements for livestock fairs, by-products of animals slaughtered in the United Kingdom or the end of quarantines on import of homing pigeons.
In the second block, the Community Executive proposes to reduce by 50% the procedures for the movement of goods between the island and Ulster, using technology to identify products in real time at customs. A commitment from both parties to “implement appropriate monitoring and enforcement measures” will be required.
It is also committed to formalizing a continuous dialogue with all those involved through regular meetings. “A stronger link will also be created between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the EU-UK Parliamentary Association and a website to clearly and comprehensively display applicable EU law in Northern Ireland.”
The fourth block will guarantee the full supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in the long term. Pharmaceutical companies will be able to retain all their regulatory functions which means, according to the Commission, that Great Britain will continue to act as a hub for supplying generics to its territory without any additional control.
With this package of proposals, experts from the European Commission will travel to London to go over details. The beginning of a period “of intense discussions with the government of the United Kingdom” that will last weeks. Šefčovič is also scheduled to meet David Frost this Friday in Brussels.