The United Kingdom has asked the EU for a longer relaxation of trade controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. In this way, the negative effects of Brexit should be mitigated, writes the BBC.
Michael Gove, the British Minister for Cabinet Affairs, has sent a letter to the European Commission asking for a political solution.
As part of the Brexial Trade Agreement, a transition period of three months was agreed. During this habituation period, food and animal products would be easier to pass through from England to Northern Ireland. The British now, more than a month after the agreements were made, want smoother rules to apply after March. They reportedly want an extension until 2023.
Recently, there have been many problems in the control of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland authorities withdrew border controllers because of intimidation and threats, and not much later the EU also withdrew inspectors.
And last week, to the annoyance of the British, the EU announced that there might be a ban on exports of coronavaccines, which would also apply to Northern Ireland. Because it would still have controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, there was fierce criticism from London, after which the EU partially withdrew the plan.
Prime Minister Johnson reproined the EU of undermining the transition agreements reached last night:
Minister Gove expressed himself in similar terms. He said that the EU has damaged confidence and called on Brussels to take swift action. Gove had previously said in the House of Commons that supermarket goods and other goods should be able to reach consumers. The British Minister is discussing today with European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic.
He announced on Twitter this morning that last months agreements on controls between the UK and Northern Ireland are crucial to the Brexit Trade Agreement and peace on the Irish island:
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said that he is in favour of extension.
Brussels correspondent Sander van Hoorn emphasises that the single market is sacred for the EU. “It must not be affected, it is the European Unions earnings model.” He therefore estimates that the European Commission will look kindly at the British proposal, but above all it will send the message that the British must get their affairs in order.
Van Hoorn can imagine that the EU would be too keen to extend, but not so long, not until 2023. “The British will then have to show how they will manage their affairs, especially when. Otherwise, its a problem moving forward, and thats risky. If the British do not do it, then there is nothing left for the EU but to carry out checks at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That doesnt mean you stop every van, but if the single market starts leaking, you want more samples.”
Correspondent Tim de Wit says from London that it is clear that all parties take the incidents very seriously and will want to find a solution. “The tension with Northern Ireland has been slumbering beneath the surface for a while, and has never been away.” New violence between pro-British unionists, loyalists on the one hand and Catholic splinter groups that emerge from the IRA on the other, is still quite conceivable. There is only something to happen and those militant movements wake up.