Northern Irish traders were thrown into a whirlwind on January 1 by the Boris Johnson government’s decision not to extend the ‘Brexit’ transition, EU and British fresh produce farmers beg London to postpone the requirement for phytosanitary certificates from April and musicians, actors or au pair agencies call for the restrictions to be revised.
But the British minister, Michael Gove, whom his colleagues from ‘The Times’ called ‘The Prefect’ (the prefect) when he was a journalist, wrote this Tuesday perhaps his last letter to the European Commission with a demand for punctuality and order that he ignored the exhaustion, the victims, the smoke and the anger in the landscape left by the first two months of the separation.
Gove, interim representative of the United Kingdom in the Association Council, which is the highest joint committee that supervises the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (ACC), specified in his letter: “Our expectation is that the EU will be able to fulfill its internal commitments before April 30 and that, therefore, we will not be asked for another extension of the provisional period of application of the ACC beyond that date.
IN ITS CONTEXT:
April is the new date for the provisional application of the trade agreement, which the United Kingdom already ratified on December 30. The European Parliament has yet to do so.
pages collect the separation agreement. It is currently being translated into about twenty languages, a process that is seriously delayed.
It is, however, the deadline that the United Kingdom is asking for in order to implement sanitary controls for food at its borders. The EU does not seem willing to wait.
jobs are also stranded in limbo awaiting the fisheries pact with London. Spain asked this Tuesday to close the quotas for cod, bream, tusk.
Spaniards have already requested the status of ‘settled’ in the United Kingdom, a necessary procedure to be able to maintain their rights as they have been up to now. The pandemic delays the process.
To understand the issue that had stung the British Cabinet factotum, you have to immerse yourself in the tedious bureaucracy of the European Union. In the ‘Brexit’ Agreement, presented on Christmas Eve 2020, it is said that it would provisionally apply until February 28. The European Parliament demanded that period to analyze and ratify the document.
“As you know”, Gove writes to the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maros Seferovic, “the provisional application of the agreement was not the preferred option of the United Kingdom, due to the uncertainty it creates for individuals, companies and also the Parties. (of the agreement) ». The Johnson administration effectively got one of the oldest democratic parliaments in the world to ratify the 1,449 pages in twenty-four hours.
Following the protocol of the community institutions, the Commission sent to the Council on the 10th a draft proposal to start the ratification of the Agreement in Parliament. It was approved on the 16th and in the text it asks the Association Council to set a date after the 28th, to allow time for the twenty-four verified translations in the languages of the member states to be completed.
Gove’s discomfort doesn’t seem justified this time around. Perhaps it is a mere facade, because he says goodbye to Seferovic writing in his own handwriting: “And thank you very much for all your support.” The expression of appreciation and affection is also strange. It sounds like goodbye, although they are scheduled to see each other this Wednesday, for the last time, at the Joint Committee for the Irish Protocol.
In Northern Ireland there is tension over ‘Brexit’, because the politics of the region are tortuous. An example. David Trimble, the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winner for the Good Friday Agreement, said in October 2019, when Boris Johnson signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol, that it was “a great step forward” respectful of the constitutional pact in the province. This Tuesday he indicated that the Irish Protocol must be eliminated.
The Northern Irish Paradox
The Chief Minister, Arlene Foster, encouraged the population to take advantage of the undeniable opportunities of the new status of the region, which is in the single market and in the British. Now he heads an alliance of unionist politicians who want to ask the courts for a review of the Protocol’s constitutionality. Pro-British Unionists who voted for ‘Brexit’ want the abolition of what has been signed and ratified by the British Government and Parliament.
Vice President Seferovic repeated that the EU does not consider the removal of the Protocol when it offers flexibility to solve the problems of hasty implementation. The German Minister for Europe, Michael Roth, backed the argument. Seferovic will have to negotiate in the future with the new British minister, David Frost, to whom Gove now cedes the poisoned issue of ‘Brexit’.
A mid-range diplomat, Frost went on to represent Scotch whiskey before expressing ‘Brexit’ers’ ideas. Johnson hired him when he was foreign minister, then negotiated the ACC with Michel Barnier and in a month he has gone from being the future president of the National Security Council to personal adviser to the prime minister, senior adviser and minister for relations with the EU , which he wants to accustom, as he has said, to the existence of a sovereign neighbor.