Boris Johnson has called on the EU to “address the serious issues that have arisen” with Brexit in Northern Ireland just hours before publishing a plan aimed at redesigning the protocol he signed in 2019.
He was speaking with Micheál Martin on the eve of the publication by Brexit Minister David Frost of a “command document” on the Northern Ireland protocol.
The document, which sources describe as “significant” and “significant”, is expected to be robust and will review the UK’s desire to remove controls on products ranging from car parts to fresh food, including hot dogs.
The plan will reportedly include a proposal for an “honesty box” approach whereby, similar to a trusted merchant scheme in which products from large supermarkets or other trusted suppliers are accepted with confidence. destination to Northern Ireland are accepted as remaining in Northern Ireland. .
This is unlikely to be accepted by the EU given its recent protests that the UK has eroded trust by making unilateral decisions on the protocol.
The Financial Times reported Tuesday night that another strand of the proposals is expected to seek to eliminate any role for the European Commission or the European court of justice in the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Lord Frost told a Commons select committee on Monday that the EU had started discussing the UK’s proposal for a veterinary deal based on the two sides maintaining equivalent standards for animals and food.
This has been rejected as a solution before, but Frost said it was “very good” that the EU had started to consider it.
But such an agreement would mean serious gaps in other areas at border controls, which Frost is expected to fill out for a command document released at lunchtime on Wednesday.
So far, the EU has urged the UK to sign a so-called veterinary agreement, which it said would mean that 80% of controls on west-east trade via the Irish Sea would be abolished, but only if the UK agreed. dynamically aligns with the EU. rule book.
In turn, the UK has asked the EU to ease what it claims is an inflexible approach.
A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson told the Irish Taoiseach that the protocol was “causing a significant disruption” and that pragmatism was needed to solve the post-Brexit problem.
The spokesperson said of Johnson’s phone call with Martin: “It made clear the UK government’s commitment to protecting Belfast. [Good Friday] agreement in all its dimensions.
“He said that the EU must show pragmatism and that solutions must be found to address the serious challenges that have arisen with the protocol.
A spokesperson for the taoiseach told Johnson that UK statements on the protocol would be carefully considered, but stressed the importance of the EU-UK framework for protocol-related issues.
Peter Shirlow, a professor of Irish studies at the University of Liverpool, called on negotiators on both sides to stop using the Good Friday agreement as a negotiating tool, as if the compromise of one of the parties was in question.
“GFA protection cannot be rhetorical,” he said.
In a 74-page report on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Responding to tensions or enacting opportunities, he said: “We need political maturity and political actors must use the Protocol as a moment of reestablishment in which they chart a vision for NI. and therefore the economies of Ireland and Great Britain. “