LONDON (AP) – The Irish Foreign Minister has warned that British demands risk a “further breakdown in relations” with the European Union ahead of this week’s talks aimed at resolving the deadlock on the Brexit deal.
Simon Coveney posted the remarks on Twitter after the UK Brexit Minister reiterated his insistence that the European Court of Justice should not be allowed to oversee the implementation of the deal. Coveney described this as a new “red line” that will hamper progress in negotiations.
“Does (the UK government) really want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?” He wrote.
The European Commission is expected to release its proposals this week to break the deadlock on trade deals for Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK to have a land border with the bloc of 27 countries. The UK government has sought to renegotiate part of its divorce deal with the EU which requires customs and border controls on certain goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK
The regulations aim to ensure that goods entering the EU’s single market meet European standards while maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – a key pillar of the Irish peace process. North. But the checks angered trade unionists in Northern Ireland, who say they weaken the region’s ties with the rest of the UK and make it harder for businesses to operate.
“The role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland and the failure of the British government to implement the highly sensitive provisions of the protocol in a reasonable manner has created a profound imbalance in the functioning of the protocol,” said the British negotiator David Frost said in remarks released ahead of a speech Saturday in Lisbon. “Without new provisions in this area, the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive.”
The Times of London reported on Saturday that Brussels is likely to offer unhindered access to products linked to Britain’s “national identity”, such as Cumberland sausages. The proposal is an attempt to avoid a so-called sausage war over chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea.
Frost’s office suggested on Saturday that the EU’s concessions should “go far beyond sausage.”
In a speech at the Conservative Party conference last week, Frost threatened to trigger a contentious termination clause in the divorce deal if the EU was unwilling to make concessions on Northern Ireland .
Frost said the Brexit deal, which he negotiated and signed by Britain and the EU, was undermining peace in Northern Ireland and causing “instability and disruption.”
Unless there are major changes to the deal, Britain will invoke Article 16, a provision that allows either party to suspend the deal in exceptional circumstances. However, Britain has already made this threat and Frost has not pulled the trigger.
“But we cannot wait forever,” he said.
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