Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney says he doesn’t know if the UK government wants to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol impasse as tensions between Dublin, Brussels and London escalate.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ suggestion that the UK could take unilateral action to suspend trade deals post-Brexit has “received really badly across the European Union,” Mr Coveney said in Belfast.
Bloomberg reported that the EU stands ready to suspend its trade deal with the UK if Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government proposes legislation to overturn the protocol.
The threat of unilateral action from London drew a sharp rebuke from several EU capitals yesterday.
In Dublin, a government source said: “The play ‘Here we go again threatening to break the law’ went down like a bucket of sickness.”
After meeting parties in the North following last week’s Stormont election, Mr Coveney said the European Commission had shown a willingness to compromise but was now hearing a “rejection of this approach to breaching international law and lifting elements of a.” Treaty that the UK Government was at the heart of concluding with the EU”.
Mr Coveney said he did not know if the UK Government was interested in working to resolve the difficulties in Northern Ireland.
Ms Truss said on Tuesday that the EU’s proposed solutions to the impasse would “bring us back”.
While saying she favors a negotiated solution, she added: “We will not shy away from taking action to stabilize the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found.”
Ministers in London are reportedly preparing bill to unilaterally remove the need for controls on all goods dispatched from Britain for use in Northern Ireland – a breach of the treaty Mr Johnson signed in 2019 – resulting in the UK entering a Collision with the EU, of course.
In Belfast, Mr Coveney described these reports as “magnificent threats”. “What we want is partnership, friendship and how neighbors should behave with each other to rebuild trust and try to solve some of these issues together,” he said.
“The truth is that Northern Ireland has worked best when the two governments have worked in partnership.
“That’s an essential part of the Good Friday Agreement, but when there are difficult issues to resolve in Northern Ireland, this polarizes the view that the two governments are there to work together as a basis and basis for compromise.
“I’m afraid that kind of partnership is lacking at the moment.”
Mr Coveney described his talks with parties in the north as “positive, direct and blunt” and said he believed it was despite Ms Truss’s comments, which came after Mr Johnson spoke to Taoiseach Micheál Martin about post-Brexit arrangements , “a landing zone” give on the island of Ireland.
In a Downing Street report on the call, the two agreed it was important to restore devolved institutions in the North as soon as possible. An Irish Government source said it had been a “open and honest” conversation.
A government spokesman said the Taoiseach had urged Mr Johnson “to engage in intensified talks between the EU and the UK to address issues related to the implementation of the Protocol”.
“He has clearly expressed his serious concerns about any unilateral action at this time which would destabilize Northern Ireland and undermine confidence.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/simon-coveney-warns-of-grandstanding-threat-to-northern-ireland-protocol-as-tensions-grow-41641023.html Simon Coveney warns of a ‘major threat’ to Northern Ireland protocol as tensions rise