The president of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, has turned down Boris Johnson’s move to renegotiate the Northern Irish protocol, elevating the temperature of a simmering Brexit row.
“The EU will carry on to be inventive and flexible inside the protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate,” she said following a phone with the prime minister on Thursday.
EU resources said the phone lasted about thirty minutes, and Von der Leyen built distinct they spoke at Johnson’s request.
Even though not a shock, her refusal – less than 24 several hours following the govt established out a program to renegotiate a core component of the Brexit deal – is a blow to Johnson, who built recurring false statements that there would be no customs checks between Excellent Britain and Northern Ireland.
The EU has united against the Uk blueprint to rewrite the Northern Irish protocol, a tricky-fought arrangement with Johnson in 2019 that established a customs border in the Irish Sea.
In an official readout of the prime minister’s phone with Von der Leyen, a Downing Street spokesperson recurring the Uk government’s case for renegotiation. “The prime minister established out that the way the protocol was at the moment running was unsustainable. Methods could not be discovered by way of the current mechanisms of the protocol. That was why we experienced established out proposals for substantial changes to it.
“He urged the EU to seem at these proposals severely and get the job done with the Uk on them. There is a substantial chance to find sensible, functional solutions to the complications struggling with people and enterprises in Northern Ireland, and therefore to set the relationship between the Uk and the EU on a improved footing. They agreed to stay in touch.”
The prime minister built the exact same points in a separate phone with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister “didn’t assume the EU to take these a purist and maximalist approach” to utilizing the protocol but could not place to any breaches by Brussels of the arrangement.
“There are authentic everyday living difficulties that people are struggling with on the ground in Northern Ireland that require to be addressed,” the spokesperson said, incorporating that the govt experienced launched a session supposed to “slash Brexit red tape”.
Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister did not want the protocol scrapped “at this time”.
The UK’s try to renegotiate has exasperated EU final decision-makers, who have already proposed changes to reduce the affect on Northern Irish citizens. Further tweaks stay doable, but the EU has dominated out a full-scale renegotiation.
In an unusually blunt statement, a German govt spokesperson tweeted: “Is it much too a great deal to assume the [Uk] to stand by what it has negotiated, signed and ratified.”
One EU diplomat said the Brexit minister, David Frost, experienced developed “a fifty percent-baked proposal” with tough principles. Lord Frost’s suggestion that traders ought to be dependable to move goods between Excellent Britain and Northern Ireland with nominal oversight is opposed by Brussels, which thinks these a regime could be exploited by smugglers and firms enjoying quickly and unfastened with two sets of rules.
The target to rip the European court of justice out of the protocol has also fallen on stony ground. EU resources argue that Frost has incorrectly characterised the court’s role in the protocol, exaggerating its significance.
The protocol underscores that the court has sole duty for adjudicating on queries of EU law, a place officers say is a basis stone of the EU’s authorized buy that are unable to be changed.
The arrangement also permits the British govt to be sued in the European court of justice (ECJ), with a single authorized case already lodged by Brussels around alleged breaches.
Uk resources think the ECJ is uncommon in these an worldwide treaty and concern the government’s margin for manoeuvre will be crimped by what is witnessed as the extraordinary inflexibility of the EU process.
Talks will carry on between the two sides. “It would be a mistake to dismiss the political problems, just since [the Uk] signed up to this,” said the diplomat, “although many of the problems have been recognised considering that the commencing.”