Dublin Says UK 'undermining' Search For N.Ireland Deal


Dublin says UK 'undermining' search for N.Ireland deal

Dublin, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 11th Oct, 2021 ) :Ireland on Monday accused the UK of undermining European efforts to resolve problems with post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, warning patience in Brussels was wearing thin.

The UK government at the weekend said it would heap pressure on the EU to agree to overhaul the Northern Ireland protocol governing the movement of goods to and from the British province.

Brexit minister David Frost will use a speech on Tuesday to say the UK wants to remove the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from its role as arbiter of the scheme.

But the speech comes just a day before the European Commission outlines its own proposals to iron out difficulties in its implementation.

"The British government is deciding to... undermine that package before it's even published," an exasperated Coveney told RTE state radio.

He accused London of "shifting the playing field" whenever compromise on trading problems was in the air.

"At some point in time the EU will say enough," the Irish minister warned. "I think we're very close to that point now." Coveney said he spoke to European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic -- who is leading the EU negotiating team -- on Sunday night and his opinion was "the exact same".

He said the EU "can't move" on the issue of ECJ involvement as the bloc's single market relies on the court to act as its "final arbiter".

- 'Not sustainable' - Britain voted to leave the EU in a landmark referendum in 2016. When ties were severed at the start of 2021, the Northern Ireland protocol came into effect.

It has kept the British-ruled province inside elements of the EU customs union and single market in order to prevent a hard border with EU member Ireland.

The border was a former flashpoint in "The Troubles" sectarian conflict between pro-UK unionists and pro-Ireland nationalists, which wound down in 1998.

But the protocol has required new checkpoints at ports in the region to stop the risk of goods coming from England, Scotland and Wales getting into the EU by the back door.

Pro-UK unionists in Northern Ireland say it has created a border in the Irish Sea that undermines the province's place in the wider UK, and strengthens pro-Irish republicans' case for a united Ireland.

The UK government denied it was shifting the goalposts with the EU, insisting that it was the fault of Brussels for the way it had implemented the protocol.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had agreed to the ECJ role in 2019 "in the spirit of compromise in challenging circumstances," Johnson's official spokesman told reporters.

But now, "it simply isn't sustainable for the EU to make laws which apply in Northern Ireland without any kind of democratic scrutiny or discussion", he said.

"It's unheard of for a bilateral agreement to be policed by the courts of one of the other parties," the spokesman said, also denying that Frost was grandstanding before the Commission's proposals are even released.

Last week, Frost warned the UK could abandon the protocol in early November unless talks based on the EU proposals pay off.