The UK is “deeply disappointed” that the EU is not moving forward with London on trade talks on Northern Ireland. The fact that Brussels does not want to extend the negotiating mandate makes the situation worrying, according to a speech by British Minister Michael Ellis that has yet to be delivered.
“We negotiated in good faith with the European Union,” Ellis said in his speech to the European Parliament on Thursday. He admitted that Commissioner Marosh Sevsovic “tried to find solutions within the mandate that was given to him.” But according to the British minister, with the current EU proposals on the table, the UK will deteriorate. “It is therefore very disappointing that the European Union has confirmed that it will never change its mandate and that is why the situation is now very dangerous,” Ellis said.
The status of Northern Ireland after Brexit has long been a major political issue. Because of Ireland’s membership in the European Union, goods must pass through customs at the border with Northern Ireland, but this is sensitive because no one wants such a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This was agreed in the 1990s in a peace treaty after decades of conflict between pro-Ireland Catholics and pro-British Protestants.
After Brexit, in order to preserve this agreement, it was practically decided to demarcate the border between the European Union and the United Kingdom between Northern Ireland and the British Isle. As a result, Customs now has to check goods transported between the UK and Northern Ireland.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has long argued that the Brexit agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Northern Ireland will not be sustainable. The formation of a government in Northern Ireland is at risk of deadlock as pro-British politicians have said they will not supply ministers if agreements are not amended. The agreement states in principle that pro-British Protestants and pro-Ireland Catholics must be in every ministry.
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