The EU is presenting a proposal to the United Kingdom today to ease controls at the Northern Ireland and Great Britain border.
Brussels says it will reduce half of the checks at the border. The EU wants to cater to the UK by carrying out less substantial controls. In particular, meat products and medicines that go to Northern Ireland from England, Wales and Scotland are less controlled.
The EU calls it far-reaching interventions. The UK doesn‘t see that way. London would rather see much lighter or no more checks at all. It wants a trade flow with Northern Ireland as it was before Brexit. That would mean that products cross the border with Northern Ireland unprecedented. From there, products can then cross the border with Ireland and thus into the EU. And that is exactly what the EU wants to prevent.
EU recognizes practical problems
Part of the Brexit deal concluded just before Christmas is that there is a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. A border between Ireland and Northern Ireland was not an option due to past tensions. Both parties agreed that a border would run through the British Kingdom, in the Irish Sea, in order to regulate imports and exports of goods to the EU.
Brussels sees that practical problems arise for the British and therefore wants to bring water to the wine, but says that there must always be some kind of control in order to protect the unity of the EU’s internal market. That oversight within the EU, i.e. on the border of Ireland with Northern Ireland, lies with the European Court.
The EU points out to the British that the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol has been signed and ratified by both parties and that it cannot be deviated simply. Brussels now hopes that the British will look at the proposal and expect to enter into serious negotiations.