EU Will Not Renegotiate Northern Ireland’s Position

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The European Union will not renegotiate the position of Northern Ireland with the United Kingdom.

 

That would lead to instability and uncertainty in the country, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said during a speech in Belfast. The British find the trade agreements made in the Brexit agreement unworkable.

Under the Brexit agreement, all goods transported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland must comply with European rules. So they have to be checked for that in the ports of Northern Ireland. On Thursday, the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party threatened to withdraw from Northern Ireland’s government if barriers to the rest of the United Kingdom were not removed.

Those barriers were agreed to prevent a hard border from developing between British Northern Ireland and the EU member state Ireland. That could reignite tensions between pro-British Protestants and pro-Irish Catholics. A transitional period has been agreed upon during which not all EU certificates are yet required.

The British extended that transition period for the third time this week. Earlier, Brussels threatened to take legal action about this. “I know that it is possible to work together if the language is less strong on both sides,” Šefčovič said in his speech.

Šefčovič is visiting Northern Ireland for two days. He wants to “listen very carefully on the spot to the concrete problems of administration, organizations and residents as a result of the type of Brexit that the British government itself has chosen”, he said earlier in Brussels.

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