Britain’s Minister Brexit warned Saturday about a long-term chill in relations between Britain and the European Union if the agreed trade agreement governing Northern Ireland is not resolved.
In a speech at Oxford’s British Irish Association, David Frost said the Northern Ireland Protocol needed “substantial and significant changes.”
Post-Brexit trade agreements between the UK Government and the EU in 27 countries impose customs and border checks on some goods traveling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
This rule not only respects the rules governing the EU’s commodity market, but also opens the border between Northern Ireland and the EU member state Ireland, which is an important pillar of the Northern Ireland peace process. I am aiming for. But they offended the Northern Ireland union community. They say the check will reach the border of the Irish Sea, weakening relations between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.
“The stakes are high, the debate can be bitter, and this process creates a kind of cold distrust between us and the EU that can spread throughout the relationship,” Frost said. I’m worried that it might be possible. “
Frost has been calling for changes to the Protocol for months and has helped to develop it, but the EU has repeatedly refused to reopen after years of lengthy negotiations.
“It hampers the possibility of a new era of cooperation between like-minded nations in a world where we need to work effectively,” Frost said.
Frost emphasized the need for change, but sought to downplay EU concerns that Britain would unilaterally wipe out all existing arrangements.
“It’s not our position,” he said. “It is clear that there is always a need for a dedicated UK-EU treaty relationship covering Northern Ireland. Finding the right balance is a problem.”
The UK officially left the EU in January 2020, but remained within its economic trajectory until a new, much looser free trade agreement was signed earlier this year.
At that time, Northern Ireland was given a separate position to effectively remain in the EU’s commodity market. This is a decision to prevent a harsh border with Ireland, which violates the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which ended decades of inter-denominational violence.
Ultimately, the UK conservative government is trying to remove most checks and replace them with a “light touch” system that only inspects goods at risk of entering the EU.
For more information on AP Brexit coverage, please visit https://apnews.com/hub/brexit.