Brussels is reportedly “preparing for the worst” as it awaits a response to several proposed measures to cut Britain’s commercial red tape in the Irish Sea.
The European Commission has taken steps to reduce regulatory checks by 80 per cent and dramatically reduce the movement of goods between the UK and the island of Ireland, especially customs duties on food and agricultural products.
The UK government welcomed the announcement last night (Wednesday, October 13), indicating that it wants “deep dialogue” to implement the EU’s recommendations, created by the Northern Ireland Protocol. Designed to deal with obstacles.
A spokesman for the UK government said: “The European Union has now published its recommendations in our command paper.
“We are studying the details and will definitely look at them seriously and constructively.
“The next step should be an in-depth discussion on the set of our two proposals, which is being expedited, to determine if there is a common ground for finding a solution.
“Significant changes that address fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, if we want to agree on a lasting settlement that mandates assistance in Northern Ireland.”
The scaled-back check proposed by the EU government will also eliminate the possibility of banning the export of certain British products, including Cumberland sausage, to the region.
The EU plan also includes a 50 per cent reduction in customs paperwork required to move goods from the UK to Northern Ireland.
In return, the trade bloc has called for the implementation of security measures to provide additional protections that do not end products designated for Northern Ireland to cross the Irish border.
These include labeling some products, making it clear that they are for sale in the UK only, and better monitoring supply chain movements and access to real-time trade flow information.
European Commission Vice-President Marus Seifkovic said the bloc had worked hard for an “alternative model” for implementing the protocol.
“We have explored every possible angle of the protocol and have sometimes gone beyond existing EU law,” he told a news conference in Brussels yesterday.
He added: “With this robust package of practical, imaginative solutions, we can continue to implement the protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland for the benefit of all communities on the ground.
“It not only strengthens stability and forecasting, which is an essential component of the local economy’s prosperity, but also paves the way for better opportunities.”
Although the extent of the measures will go some way to reducing the day-to-day friction on trade caused by the protocol, they do not heed the UK’s demand for the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Lord Frost, the British minister for Bridget, has made it clear that removing the court oversight function in policing protocol is a red line for the government if there is to be a compromise.
Under the terms of the protocol, which the UK and the EU have agreed to as part of the 2020 withdrawal agreement, the ECJ will be the final arbiter in any future trade dispute between the two sides over the operation of the protocol.
The UK now wants to remove this clause and replace it with an independent arbitration process.
The European Commission has insisted it will not move forward on the ECJ issue.
Lord Frost warned that if no acceptable compromise could be reached, the UK could suspend parts of the protocol by activating the Article 16 mechanism.
He emphasized that the access to the ECJ was a major issue, telling broadcasters: Applies without such a democratic process. ”
“So, I think that needs to change if we can get the governance arrangements that people can live with.”
The EU’s plan is the equivalent of a set of counter-proposals in response to a protocol reform wish announced by the British government in July.
The proposals from both sides will now form the basis for a new round of talks between Brussels and London in the coming weeks.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was adopted by the United Kingdom and the European Union as a way to avoid major obstacles to the Bridget divorce negotiations, the Irish land border.
It achieved that regulatory and customs checks and processes were transferred to the Irish Sea.
Arrangements have created new economic barriers to goods traveling from the UK to Northern Ireland.
It has disrupted many businesses in Northern Ireland and caused a major political headache for the government, as unions and loyalists are angry that they see the union as weak.
Last evening, the EU’s proposals were welcomed by Irish political leaders, with Toussaint Michael Martin calling them “a clear way forward and a clear way out of problems”.
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