World Brexit: British want to break exit treaty
Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's Sefcovic
Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's SefcovicBritain's exit from the EU's trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland - which remains in the EU's single market for goods - and the rest of the United Kingdom.
London announces that it will arbitrarily extend certain tariff reliefs for Northern Ireland. The EU Commission is alarmed, as are the Irish Republicans.British want to break exit treaty
The dispute between Great Britain and the EU over customs formalities in Northern Ireland is escalating. The British government announced on Wednesday that it would extend relief for deliveries to Northern Irish supermarkets until the beginning of October. This transition phase was supposed to expire at the end of March, and talks between the government and the EU Commission about a postponement yielded no result last week. The responsible Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič accused London of violating the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol and international law with this "unilateral action".
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The process represents "a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed so far", complained the Slovak, and the fact that London had not informed the EU in advance was "also disappointing". Late on Wednesday evening, Šefčovič and Lord David Frost, the minister responsible for relations with the EU in London, wanted to call.
The dispute is sparked by the provisions of the, part of the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement. It is intended to prevent customs officers from having to control trucks between the Republic of Ireland and the British Northern Ireland. Therefore, the protocol stipulates that Northern Ireland will continue to comply with EU product rules and customs regulations despite the . The logical consequence is that deliveries of goods from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland must be checked. After all, everything that lands in Northern Irish ports can then be transported to the south of Ireland and thus the EU internal market without further controls.
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The new customs bureaucracy led to a shortage of goods in Northern Irish shops at the beginning of the year. There are even transition periods until the end of March. Until then, freight forwarders who supply Northern Ireland's supermarkets with food from Scotland, Wales or England will not have to prove that the goods meet EU health standards. And parcels from England, Wales and Scotland whose value is less than 160 euros do not require a customs declaration. That will change after the transition phases come to an end.The EU rejects transition periods until at least the beginning of 2023.
However, Northern Irish business associations and the British government are warning that companies need more time to prepare - and are calling for this and other transition periods to be extended until at least the beginning of 2023. But that is far too long for the EU. In addition, EU representative Šefčovič is calling for the British to first fully implement some of the obligations of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Control posts at the Northern Irish ports are not yet fully operational.
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Until last week, Michael Gove was the contact person for Šefčovič in the British government. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided that his confidante Frost would take over this role at the beginning of March. Frost had already led the negotiations on the trade agreement with Brussels and is an advocate of an uncompromising line. He is now living up to this reputation by stating that the transition period for deliveries to Northern Ireland's supermarkets will simply be extended unilaterally.
The government can do this as the controls at the ports are carried out by British customs officers. London can therefore instruct the officials not to require any additional customs documents from truck drivers even after the end of March. In the coming days, the government also wants to determine how the transition phase for parcel post to Northern Ireland will continue.
Northern Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O'Neill criticized the action. O'Neill belongs to Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican party that fights for close ties to or even unification with the Republic of Ireland. "This looks like another unilateral attempt to defy agreements," she said. The SPD MEP Bernd Lange, the chairman of the trade committee, called the move towards the Süddeutsche Zeitung a "very aggressive act" and "not a good start for David Frost". Commission deputy Šefčovič threatened the British that the EU would react "to these developments".
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The financial toll of Brexit is clear for exporters like cookware maker Neil Currie: He is buried in new paperwork, has lost orders and the cost of exporting frying pans to France has doubled. Exporting a £50 frying pan to France just a few months ago would have seen Netherton Foundry add around £8 in distribution costs. "Now, it's quite a lot more -- it's £16 and possibly £20," noted Currie.And while pre-Brexit he could send an item to Brussels from his central England base faster than to Scotland or Northern Ireland, that is no longer the case.- Moving abroad? -A similar situation is found at fresh pasta-maker La Tua Pasta.