Suits us! Brexiteer celebrates as official admits EU could be forced into customs change

Brexit: Maros Sefcovic warns UK over Northern Ireland Protocol

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters.Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.You can unsubscribe at any time.

And Brexiteer Mark Reckless has taunted Brussels – by saying such an outcome would “suit us fine”. The protocol was agreed by the EU and UK in parallel to the Withdrawal Agreement which secured Brexit – but its implementation has been fraught with difficulty.

The stated intention is to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland – but critics say in practice it has resulted in a border down the Irish Sea, with companies trying to move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain facing additional layers of red tape.

Earlier this week, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the UK Government was unilaterally extending grace periods for Irish Sea border checks until October 1, prompting European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic to declare the move to be a breach of international law.

Meanwhile, First Minister Arlene Foster is backing a legal bid aimed at forcing a judicial review into the protocol, which was lodged with Northern Ireland’s High Court yesterday.

One EU diplomat commented: “If the United Kingdom decides not to apply the Protocol in certain fields it means the internal market is affected, and it is necessary to protect the internal market.”

Another added: “Member states are very serious about the internal market and if there’s a loophole in Northern Ireland which is too big, then of course something might happen on the Irish crossing between Rosslare and Cherbourg.

“But that is pre-empting a discussion which is not really being had.”

JUST IN: Brexiteers take UK Government to court over botched Brexit deal

Mr Reckless, the former Tory MP for Rochester and Strood who is now a member of the Welsh Senedd, was unperturbed by the apparent threat.

The former UKIP and Brexit Party member, who is now a member of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party, tweeted a link to an article by RTE’s Tony Connolly outlining the situation – and referring to the possibility of checks on ferries between Ireland and France.

Mr Reckless commented: “Article concludes that EU will have to shift checks to Celtic Sea between Ireland and France if UK won’t enforce Irish Sea border. That suits us fine.”

Before this week’s controversy erupted, the Commission had already voice concern that border control posts at Northern Ireland ports were not yet fully operational and the EU had been unable to access UK IT systems to monitor protocol compliance.

Joanna Lumley’s brilliantly pinpointed why UK voted Brexit [INTERVIEW]
Joanna Lumley’s Brexit verdict: ‘Europeans are going to miss us’ [ANALYSIS]
Prince Philip unmasked as ‘quite shy’ in confession from Joanna Lumley [INSIGHT]

Speaking yesterday, European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said: “To be crystal clear, there are practical steps which the United Kingdom is supposed to implement that are related to the agreements that we found in December.

“And if people are talking about us trying to find an agreement on prolonging the grace periods, which must be a joint decision, a joint decision in the context of the joint committee, the UK also has to do its homework on those practical steps that it has to implement, that it should have implemented already some time ago for some of them and that it has committed to be delivering, to deliver very quickly on the others.

“We are looking to the UK to respect and to implement those commitments.”

Fellow Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said efforts to find a solution was ongoing.

He explained: “We’re working together in a constructive manner with the UK to find a solution to the issues that we’re currently facing.

“Last week, we actually had a joint committee together with the UK trying to find a way forward.

“It’s true that from Wednesday the situation has changed. It’s different now.

He also acknowledge the problems the Protocol was causing for some Northern Ireland businesses.

He said: “We have spoken to businesses and civil society in Northern Ireland and also in Ireland over the past couple of days.

“This is a really important part of what we’re doing, and the events over the past 48 hours doesn’t change our commitment to speaking to people in Northern Ireland and listening to their experiences.

“So just to underline again, we’re perfectly aware of the issues that people are faced with and we are trying our best to be constructive, to find solutions, but for that, of course, it requires commitment as well from the UK.”

Source: Read Full Article