“We will not renegotiate,” she said after a phone call with Johnson.
The EU will therefore continue to be flexible and enable creative solutions to problems – but the solutions must be found within the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. According to a spokesman, Johnson had once again personally advocated “significant changes” to the protocol during the phone call. The existing mechanisms could not have found solutions to the current problems, it said. Johnson also advertised the renegotiations by telephone on Thursday with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Specifically, Britain wants to get rid of the goods controls for food and other goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom to a large extent. The controls were agreed by both sides in the Brexit agreement to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the EU member Republic of Ireland. Otherwise the conflict in the former civil war region is expected to flare up again.
If Great Britain does not adhere to control rules in the long term, it has to expect a lawsuit before the European Court of Justice and, ultimately, sanctions from the EU. Brussels laid the foundation for the lawsuit in March when it initiated what are known as infringement proceedings. This could soon be taken forward with the Commission sending a reasoned opinion to London. This would be a formal request to abide by the contractual arrangements. If the UK remains stubborn, the Commission can refer the case to the Court of Justice.