Germany and Ireland attack Boris Johnson for Northern Ireland rules

Boris Johnson has been urged to abandon his attempt to sidestep the Northern Irish element of the Brexit deal in a dramatic intervention by the German and Irish governments.

The British prime minister is pushing for new legislation that undoes parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, in a bid to convince the Democratic Unionist party to rejoin the power-sharing deal at Stormont, which has been in limbo since the election. local elections in May.

The changes address customs, regulation, subsidy control and administration, issues that have angered some union members in Northern Ireland.

In a joint statement on Sunday, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, warned that there was “no legal or political reason” for the move.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote in the Financial Times last week that the protocol was undermining the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of sectarian violence. Truss argues that it is essential to use the law to “fix specific problems” in the protocol – while maintaining other elements – in a way that is “necessary and legal”.

But the EU has signaled that Britain could fall into a trade war with the bloc if it doesn’t deviate from its plan to scrap the deal.

In their speeches, Baerbock and Coveney said the UK government agreed to the protocol two years ago after “long and difficult negotiations”. Under its terms, Northern Ireland remains the EU’s sole market for goods but checks are carried out on shipments entering Northern Ireland from the UK.

Since then, the EU has introduced proposals to simplify the movement of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland and change its own laws to address concerns about the supply of medicines.

Baerbock and Coveney argue in a Observer newspaper that the British government chose not to participate in good faith with the proposals. They wrote: “Instead of the path of cooperation and dialogue, it chose unilateralism. “There is no political or legal justification for unilaterally breaking up an international agreement signed just two years ago.”

They warn that circumventing the new law will not fix the challenges and will instead only create a new set of uncertainties.

In a criticism of the DUP, they also pointed out that in the May election to the Northern Ireland Assembly, 52 of the 90 elected members supported the protocol.

Germany appears to be backing the EU’s hardline approach to Britain’s attempt to dilute the Northern Ireland protocol.

The EU General Affairs Council’s bulletin from June 23, seen by the Financial Times, shows that Germany is among a number of countries that consider the UK’s actions to be a “clear and unwarranted violation”. indisputable with respect to its international obligations”.

While Germany urged the European Commission to “remain calm and adopt a gradual approach”, it also stressed the need to prepare for “all potential scenarios” and keep all options open. on the table.

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