London — For months, the battle for Northern Ireland’s status has been Brexit’s most annoying legacy, causing a conflict known as the “Sausage War”. The UK has now raised Ante by demanding that the post-Brexit trade rules of Northern Ireland, agreed two years ago, be abolished and replaced.
The European Union responded to the call on Wednesday with an extensive plan to resolve the practical problems posed by the Brexit Treaty (Northern Ireland Protocol), which caused a total confrontation between Britain and Brock. .. It’s spats that can confuse the United States.
The Protocol aims to resolve one of the most complex issues posed by Brexit, the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the European Union. is.
A new proposal from Brussels will reduce food and animal product checks from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland by 80%, reduce customs clearance for the shipment of many goods, and ensure drug flow.
“Today’s packaging has the potential to make realistic and concrete differences in the field,” said Maros Chefchovic, vice chairman of the European Commission, the executive body of the block in 27 countries. Said, this is a “protocol.”
However, he did not offer a concession on the request for a completely new agreement made by Britain on Tuesday. It removes the role of the European Court of Justice, Brock’s Supreme Court, as an arbitrator for disputes. The idea had already been rejected by Brussels.
For Johnson’s critics, the protocol rift is evidence of his lack of credibility, his willingness to break international commitments, and his denial of responsibility for the consequences of his advocacy withdrawal from Europe. Johnson’s allies were full of inflexibility in applying the rules by the European Union, lack of emotionally sensitive petifoging in parts of Northern Ireland, and revenge on Britain to leave the block. I’m blaming hostility.
Behind all the fierceness lies the fear of Northern Ireland’s peace negotiation vulnerabilities that raise stakes beyond typical trade dispute bets. President Biden, who frequently talks about Irish heritage, has already warned Johnson not to do anything to undermine the Good Friday Agreement that helped end the violence.
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
The Accord sounds like the title of a spy thriller, but it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s actually a dry legal document that most people don’t have on their vacation reading list.
The frontier between Northern Ireland, which remains in Britain, and Ireland in the European Union is being contested, part of which was strengthened during decades of violence known as the “Northern Ireland Problem.” But after the Good Friday peace agreement in 1998, these visible signs of division melted along the border. No one wants to regain the checkpoint, but Johnson insisted on leaving the European Customs Union and its single market as part of the Brexit program.
The protocol has plans to address this unique situation. This is achieved by effectively leaving half of Northern Ireland in the European system (and its huge market) and half in the British system. It sounds neat-even logical-until you try to make it work.
Why doesn’t Britain like it?
This plan means increasing checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the mainland of the United Kingdom, effectively creating borders in the Irish Sea and dividing the United Kingdom. Faced with all the new bureaucracy, some British companies have stopped supplying stores in Northern Ireland, saying they simply can’t handle the additional paperwork currently needed.
This infuriated and inflamed conservative lawmakers among the Northern Irish people who wanted the region to remain part of Britain. We recognize that union members, primarily Protestants, are British and believe that changes could threaten their future in the UK.
Therefore, the lack of access to the right type of sausage may seem like a small inconvenience, but to many union members it feels like their British identity is in the flyer.
Why is the EU claiming it?
Brock dug into the heel, partly because Mr Johnson signed the Protocol and he negotiated it himself and pushed it through the British Parliament.
British critics have accused Europeans of being overly strict and legal in interpreting the Protocol and enthusiastic about the necessary checks.
But EU leaders believe that the existential interests of the block are at stake. For Brussels, the single market is one of its foundations, and it states that it needs to control what enters it. If it is compromised, it can threaten the components of European integration.
How about those sausages?
Under the protocol, ensure that animal-derived foods (such as sausages) coming from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland meet European standards when they reach Ireland, which is part of the European Union’s Single Market. Health certification is required for this.
The British want a light touch system (that is, a system with minimal checks) for products that companies promise to stay in Northern Ireland.
However, the European Union wants the UK to sign European health certification rules to minimize the need for control. So far, many of the regulations have been exempted during the “grace period,” and if enacted, the latest proposal from Brussels should remove the frenzy from the “sausage war.”
What if the UK withdraws from the Protocol?
The UK states that it already has grounds for deploying an emergency clause known as Article 16 that allows it to act unilaterally and effectively suspend parts of the protocol. We have no plans to do so at this time, but the options remain in the table.
If Britain does this, the European side is most likely to accuse Mr Johnson of breaking the treaty. This could lead to retaliation and the possibility of a trade war between Britain and the European Union.
Is this all just a bargaining tactic?
During the endless Brexit talks, Johnson often played hardballs with Europeans, sometimes relying on so-called madman strategies, and threatened to stop blocking without any deal.
Therefore, this could be another role in the dice of negotiations, and most analysts believe that the best result for Britain is to win a concession on the protocol from Brussels.
The Commission’s response was to discuss with Northern Ireland companies and other groups and focus on resolving their practical problems. We hope that the concessions offered on Wednesday will satisfy the Northern Ireland business group, if not all the demands of the London government. But if the UK really demands a change in the role of the European Court of Justice in arbitration of disputes, Brussels has limited maneuverability.
So isn’t it dangerous?
Yes, in the end, Johnson has no real alternative to the Protocol except to demolish it and dare to restore the Irish border to the Republic of Ireland. It could fuel tensions between Northern Ireland denominations, cause a trade war with Brussels, and increase tensions with the Biden administration.
Monika Pronczuk contributed a report from Brussels