Dhe British EU Minister David Frost has threatened to use the safeguard clause of the Northern Ireland Protocol and to suspend post-Brexit regulations for Northern Ireland if the EU opposes “significant” changes to the protocol. Speaking in Lisbon on Tuesday, Frost said the British government was “not particularly happy to do this” but that it was “a fundamental obligation to ensure peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland”. As the protocol is currently applied, it would contribute to the destabilization of Northern Ireland and would run counter to the aim of the Withdrawal Agreement to protect the Northern Ireland peace treaty of 1998.
Proposals from the EU Commission to solve the post-Brexit crisis are expected this Wednesday. Frost described the “fundamental difficulty” by saying that the UK was required to “operate a full EU external border in the middle of our country” without Northern Ireland agreeing to the rules and with a single-party court to rule on disputes may. As early as July, Frost demanded from the EU that British goods coming from Great Britain and destined only for Northern Ireland are no longer subject to control and that the European Court of Justice be replaced by a new, equal arbitration body.
It is “not unusual in international relations” for an agreement that does not work to be renegotiated after a short time, said Frost. The “extremely rigid” passage on Northern Ireland was only created because at the time of the agreement it was not clear whether a European-British trade agreement would come about later. The Northern Ireland Protocol is the “greatest source of distrust between us” and must now be reformed together. He assured that London was “not obsessed” with Brexit. Rather, they see the EU as “an organization that does not always wish us success”. Frost promised to seriously examine the proposals from Brussels and asked the EU to do the same with his. According to information from the FAZ, London intends to apply the safeguard clause under Article 16 in November at the earliest.