The president of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, has rejected Boris Johnson’s transfer to renegotiate the Irish protocol, elevating the temperature of a simmering Brexit row.
“The EU will proceed to be inventive and versatile inside the protocol framework. However we won’t renegotiate,” she stated after a name with the prime minister on Thursday.
EU sources stated the decision lasted about half-hour, whereas von der Leyen made clear they spoke at Johnson’s request.
Whereas not a shock, her refusal – lower than 24 hours after the federal government set out a plan to renegotiate a core a part of the Brexit deal – is a blow to Johnson, who made repeated false claims there can be no customs checks between Nice Britain and Northern Eire.
The EU has united in opposition to the UK blueprint to rewrite the Irish protocol, a hard-fought settlement with Johnson in 2019 that created a customs border within the Irish Sea.
In an official readout of the prime minister’s name with von der Leyen, a Downing Avenue spokesperson repeated the UK authorities’s case for renegotiation. “The prime minister set out that the way in which the protocol was presently working was unsustainable. Options couldn’t be discovered via the prevailing mechanisms of the protocol. That was why we had set out proposals for vital modifications to it.
“He urged the EU to have a look at these proposals severely and work with the UK on them. There’s a large alternative to search out affordable, sensible options to the difficulties going through folks and companies in Northern Eire, and thereby to place the connection between the UK and the EU on a greater footing. They agreed to stay in contact.”
The prime minister made the identical factors in a separate name with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel.
The UK’s try to renegotiate has exasperated EU resolution makers, who’ve already proposed modifications to minimize the influence on Northern Irish residents. Additional tweaks stay attainable, however the EU has dominated out a full-scale renegotiation.
In an unusually blunt assertion, a German authorities spokesperson tweeted: “is it an excessive amount of to count on the [UK] to face by what it has negotiated, signed and ratified.”
One EU diplomat stated the Brexit minister, Lord Frost, had produced “a half-baked proposal” with troublesome ideas. Frost’s suggestion that merchants ought to be trusted to maneuver items between Nice Britain and Northern Eire with minimal oversight is opposed by Brussels, which thinks such a regime may very well be exploited by smugglers and corporations enjoying quick and free with two units of guidelines.
The objective to tear the European court docket of justice out of the protocol has additionally fallen on stony floor. EU sources argue that Frost has incorrectly characterised the court docket’s position within the protocol, exaggerating its significance.
The protocol underscores that the court docket has sole accountability for adjudicating on questions of EU legislation, some extent officers say is a basis stone of the EU’s authorized order that can not be modified.
The settlement additionally permits the British authorities to be sued within the European court docket of justice, with one authorized case already lodged by Brussels over alleged breaches.
UK sources suppose the ECJ is uncommon in such a world treaty and worry the federal government’s margin for manoeuvre shall be crimped by what’s seen as the intense inflexibility of the EU system.
Talks will proceed between the 2 sides. “It could be a mistake to dismiss the political considerations, just because [the UK] signed as much as this,” stated the diplomat, “though lots of the considerations have been recognized because the starting.”