Wednesday, January 19

Boris Johnson opens Brexit negotiator with the same threat of skipping the agreement he signed

New faces, old arguments. The first conversation between the Government of Boris Johnson and the European Union has included the same British arguments of the last six months, when it began to threaten to suspend the Brexit agreement signed by the prime minister himself in October 2019 if the EU does not accept rewrite it on core issues, such as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the governance of the Northern Ireland protocol.

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The call between Foreign Minister Liz Truss and European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič comes after the resignation of British Brexit Minister David Frost last Saturday.

In the conversation, Truss said, according to Downing Street sources: “We want a constructive relationship with the EU, underpinned by trade and our shared principles of freedom and democracy. Resolving current problems is critical to harnessing that potential. The UK has not changed. We need goods to flow freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, end the role of the Court of Justice as the final arbiter of disputes, as well as resolve other issues. ”

Indeed, since last summer the United Kingdom published the so-called Command Paper in which he rewrote the Northern Ireland protocol signed by Boris Johnson himself with the European Union and a never before manifested problem emerged, such as that of the governance of the CJEU, there has not been a week of negotiations in which the United Kingdom has challenged the role of the court based in Luxembourg and threatened to suspend the protocol.

But what is the problem? That to comply with the Good Friday peace agreements and that there be an invisible border between Northern Ireland, which has left the EU as part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which has remained in the EU, which they agreed London and Brussels is to leave Northern Ireland within the single market, while the rest of the United Kingdom, specifically Great Britain, remained outside.

But what does that suppose? Controls for everything that goes from a country outside the EU and the single market, such as Great Britain, to the single market, in which Northern Ireland is located. And what happens? That the rules of the EU single market are subject to the governance of the CJEU. And that, now, the United Kingdom does not want, argues that the CJEU, as an EU court, will act on behalf of the EU, as if it had not ruled numerous times against the European Commission.

“We must accelerate the pace of talks in the New Year,” said Truss, in line with what was agreed between Sefcovic and Frost on the latter’s last day of work before his resignation.

“Our preference continues to be to reach an agreed solution,” continues Truss before launching the recurring threat: “” If this does not happen, we remain prepared to activate the safeguards of Article 16 [la suspensión unilateral del protocolo de Irlanda del Norte] to address the real problems facing Northern Ireland and to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions. ”

Meanwhile, Sefcovic has been much more sparing: “I have spoken with Liz Truss about the EU’s relations with the UK, in particular the Northern Ireland Protocol. I am committed to continuing to work towards a final agreement with the UK on solutions. concrete for all parts of Northern Ireland. The EU position is known. Our goal: stability and predictability. ”