In a statement to Parliament, Secretary of State Liz Truss outlined the planned legislation facilitating the movement of goods, introducing the British tax system in Northern Ireland and giving London a greater say in the laws governing the county.
He said the legislation would not contravene international law and would not be introduced immediately, stressing the British government’s desire to continue talks with Brussels in parallel to try to find a negotiated solution.
However, despite warnings from the European Union about unilateral measures, the new law will amend parts of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocolwhich de facto created a customs border at sea between the county and the rest of the United Kingdom.
“I announce our intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes to the protocol,” Truss told parliament, to the jeers of the opposition. “Our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU and in parallel with the introduction of legislationWe remain open to new talks.”
Johnson’s team of senior ministers has approved an initiative to outline legislation, which provides for a “green channel” for those goods that travel only from the UK to Northern Ireland and not beyond.
Since Brexit negotiations began in 2017, this British region with a turbulent past and very close historically and culturally to the neighboring Republic of Ireland – an EU member state – has always been the biggest obstacle to overcome.
Although the UK formally left the bloc in February 2020 and fully in January 2021, The protocol is now causing tensions again, not only between London and Brussels, but also with the independent regional institutions in Northern Ireland.
The 1988 Good Friday Peace Agreement, which ended three decades of bloody conflict between Protestant trade unionists and Catholic Republicans, stipulated that the two sides would share power in the territorial executive of this British nation of 1.9 million people.
However, 12 days after the historic victory of the Republican Party shin fen Former political arm of the armed group IRA and supporter of Irish reunification in the provincial legislature, the trade union party DUP Independent Parliament prevents and refuses to form a government until London amends the protocol.
To avoid the return of a physical border with the Republic of Ireland, which is unacceptable to Republicans and could jeopardize a fragile peace, the protocol imposes customs controls on products arriving in the region from the rest of the UK.
Trade unionists denounce that this threatens their standing in the country.
The UK, which has been demanding an in-depth renegotiation of the text from the EU for months, stresses that it “never proposed getting rid of it” but rather “fixing it”.
“The question is how to do it,” the British Prime Minister launched Boris Johnson After a meeting on Monday in Belfast with representatives of the five regional parties in an attempt to deconstruct the situation.
“We would like to do it in a consensual way with our friends and partners, mitigating problems,” he said, referring to the European Union, “but to achieve that, to have a guarantee, we also have to go ahead with legalizing the solution at the same time.” .
“We have always tried to deal with this matter calmly. It is an opinion shared by both the prime minister and the foreign secretary “and we will take that into account when we develop the next steps,” a Downing Street spokesman said on Truss’ intervention in the House of Commons.
The European Union, wishing to make “amendments” to the Protocol but not renegotiate it, stresses that it has been negotiated and signed by both parties and that Not only would it be an “unacceptable” violation of mutual trust, but also a violation of international law.
And the apparently unconvincing unionists in the DUP were claiming on Monday that they would not allow Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, to become the region’s premier until London goes from word to action and agrees to a legislative amendment, something that could take months.
for this part, United StateThe guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement has expressed alarm at suggestions that the UK could unilaterally withdraw the application of the text designed to ensure peace.