The British government has demanded this Tuesday from the European Union a “new” protocol for the two Irlandas to replace the one agreed less than a year ago because, he argues, “does not work” and was drafted “in a hurry”, representing a new challenge to Brussels, which on Wednesday will present a proposal to simplify the current one in an attempt to convince London to comply with the agreement.
‘What does it cost the EU to put a new protocol in place? In our opinion, very little “, has defended British Brexit Minister David Frost, in a speech delivered in Lisbon during which he announced the sending of a “new legal text” to the EU partners with substantial changes to the Ulster regime.
The United Kingdom refuses to comply with the safeguards provided in the Brexit agreement as it affects the control of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, despite the fact that it was a condition agreed with the EU to avoid having to reintroduce a visible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland that could damage the Good Friday Peace Accords.
The Community Executive, for its part, which started a sanctioning file against the British Government for this breach he had announced for Wednesday a proposal with “creative and solid” solutions that would help the Northern Irish to comply with the requirements of the protocol.
The Vice-President of the Commission responsible for relations with the United Kingdom, Maros Sefcovic, made it clear in a speech last week that the EU in no case will agree to renegotiate the existing protocol, but that there is a will to find “pragmatic” solutions that unblock the situation.
Among the keys that he pointed out after visiting the region, Sefcovic said he was aware of the need to streamline the procedures for trade between the east and west, of simplify some phytosanitary measures and correcting problems in the supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as well as issues affecting customs controls.
But London has anticipated the detailed presentation of the proposal and has warned that the protocol in its current form “does not work”, is the “main source of mistrust” between Europeans and British and therefore “must change.”
Frost, who has suggested that the EU’s insistence on not renegotiating the safeguards is to show that Brexit has been detrimental, has further stressed that Northern Ireland “is not EU territory”, but that it is the British responsibility to preserve the peace. and prosperity in the territory, “which could mean using Article 16 if necessary.”
In this way, the British Government once again threatens the Twenty-seven with making use of the article provided in the Treaty negotiated between the EU and the United Kingdom to suspend the provisions of the framework agreement of the mutual relationship.
Although the British minister has not given all the details of the document sent to Brussels, he has pointed out some elements that it contains and that for the European Union are unacceptable output, for example creating a dispute resolution mechanism that leaves out the Court of Justice of the European Union.
First round over Gibraltar
The last British pulse has coincided in time with the closing of the first round of negotiations that the EU and the United Kingdom have held to seek an agreement on the framework of relations that the Europeans will establish with Gibraltar, territory to which the provisions of the post-Brexit agreement do not apply.
This was a first contact “at a technical level” between the negotiating teams with a view to reaching an agreement before the end of the year, for which at least three other rounds have been planned (two in November and one in December).
The parties trust a negotiation without great tensions because Madrid and London already laid the foundations of the future framework in an interim pact last New Year’s Eve to avoid post-Brexit chaos, although there are still delicate issues to be defined, such as the role of the European border control agency (Frontex) in control of passengers and goods at the airport and port of Gibraltar.
The European Union welcomes the willingness of Spain and the United Kingdom to drop the Gate to facilitate land passage without physical barriers, but is concerned about the controls at the airport and port and the surveillance of the adjacent waters because the Rock will remain outside the Schengen area and the Common Customs Union.
For its part, Gibraltar has been ‘satisfied’ with the progress made in this first round of talks. “Although the parties have presented their respective and sometimes opposing views on the best way to implement the agreement, the relevant exchanges have been carried out with a mutually constructive and positive spirit“The authorities have indicated in a statement. “We are looking forward to continuing this process in future rounds of talks in the coming weeks,” they stressed.
The initial proposal of the European Commission that the Spanish authorities assume that control irritated the United Kingdom, which warned that it would not accept to negotiate on that basis because it would undermine its sovereignty.
After negotiations between the 27 capitals, the mandate introduced some changes such as the express reference of the “interest” shown by Spain to request Frontex assistance for a period of four years to carry out these control tasks, with the aim of satisfying the British part.
In addition, the tension between the United Kingdom and the EU over the systematic breach of the Irish protocol by the British and London’s resistance to grant France all fishing licenses The contacts agreed for its fleet in the post-Brexit agreement have strained contacts, despite the fact that the two parties insist that they are parallel processes.