HomeNewsUK breaks Brexit agreement

UK breaks Brexit agreement

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British MPs pass bill to amend Brexit protocol for Northern Ireland

  • European and British citizens are wondering if this is not the first step towards an open trade war

British MPs on Monday approved legislation to unilaterally amend the Protocol for Northern Ireland that forms part of the Brexit agreements signed by Boris Johnson with the European Union. The bill went through by 295 votes in favor of the changes, compared to 221 against. Opening the long debate in the House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss presented the reform as “necessary and legal”, after “we have been seeking a negotiated solution for 18 months”, but “the European Union has refused to change the text of the Protocol”. Therefore, he argued, “there is a strong legal justification for taking this measure”.

The legality of the new law was more than questioned even from the conservative ranks. Former International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said he feared that the changes would “break with an international treaty, wreck our international reputation, threaten a trade war at a time when our economy is stagnating and pit us against our main ally.” Former Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke out against it.

Truss again invoked institutional instability in Northern Ireland and the danger to the Peace Agreement to justify the changes. “Passage of the bill,” he claimed, would mean the return of the DUP unionists to the shared government in Northern Ireland that they have been boycotting for months. In Bavaria, where he was attending the G7 summit, Boris Johnson indicated that he wants the new rules to come into force by the end of the year.

The British government proposes to establish a “green corridor”, without any border controls for goods coming from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) with Northern Ireland as their exclusive destination. At the same time, a “red corridor” would be established for goods from Great Britain going via Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland, i.e. to the European Union. Only the latter would be subject to EU controls and standards. The British government would reinforce the delivery to Brussels in advance of computerized trade data. It also provides for any changes to value added tax (VAT) to apply to VAT in Northern Ireland. The government intends to eliminate the EU Court of Justice as the supervisory body in Northern Ireland and wants it to be replaced by a new arbitration mechanism.

What they do not explain from the British Government is why the European Union should now believe that they are going to comply with their obligations with another system if they have not been able to comply with an international treaty accepted and signed by both parties less than two years ago.

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