Ireland and Great Britain now have an opportunity to repair relations that have been strained by Brexit, Prime Minister Michael Martin said on Thursday, following the resignation of his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
“While Prime Minister Johnson and I have been actively engaged, we have not always agreed, and the relationship between our governments has been strained and challenged in recent times,” Martin said in a statement.
“We now have an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect needed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement,” he added, referring to the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal.
EU sues UK over Northern Ireland deal
The European Union (EU) launched new legal proceedings against the United Kingdom on Wednesday (15) over its failure to implement parts of the post-Brexit resolution agreed with the bloc.
The British government earlier this week unveiled plans to change the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of an agreement designed to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open, with the aim of preventing a return to violence.
The European Commission said it had launched the process because the UK had failed to implement the agreement “despite repeated calls to do so”.
The UK government claims it needs to be “fixed” to avoid “burdensome customs procedures, inflexible regulations, tax and spending inconsistencies and problems with democratic governance”.
The EU has said that revising the protocol is “unrealistic” and that changing it unilaterally would be considered a breach of an international agreement that could lead to punishment.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič said that “there is no legal or political justification for unilaterally changing the international agreement.” Opening the door for this is also a violation of international law. So let’s be precise. this is illegal.”
The deal was created to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, which helped end sectarian violence and which does not require hard borders between the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which has left the European bloc. the rest of the UK.
To avoid border restrictions, Great Britain has agreed to keep Northern Ireland within the regulatory framework of the EU. This solution, however, created another headache. as the rest of the UK does not come under EU rules, goods traveling from Northern Ireland to the UK must be inspected.
Although agreeing to this solution, the British government now says that this solution is unfair.
“[A mudança do acordo] It will end the precarious situation where people in Northern Ireland are treated differently to the rest of the UK, it will protect the supremacy of our courts and our territorial integrity,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
Šefčovič emphasized that, in addition to the adoption of the legal procedure, the European Union also presented some “additional details” regarding possible solutions proposed earlier.
However, he also admitted that the differences could escalate if the UK went ahead with the changes, even triggering a trade war. “But we are not there yet and we want to resolve this issue as both partners should, through negotiations, finding common ground and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland.”
The European Union said in a statement that Britain will apply to the European Court if the British government does not respond within two months.