Germany and Ireland have condemned the UK government’s move to unilaterally rewrite parts of the post-Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU).
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said there was no legal or political justification for ignoring the trade rules agreed in Northern Ireland.
Writing in the British newspaper The Observer Sunday, ministers said Britain would break an international pact to which it did not participate in good faith in just two years.
Within the deal, the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol leaves its borders open with EU member Ireland and customs-free.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration wants to eliminate checks for goods such as meat and eggs arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, which protects the European Union’s single market.
Parliamentarians in London passed a bill that would allow movement last week.
Johnson’s critics, opponents, and some members of his party, along with European observers, said the plan violates international law. The government claims it is justified because of truly exceptional circumstances.
Baerbock and Coveney said the bill would not address any issues with the protocol.
Instead, they write, new uncertainties will arise and it will be more difficult to find durable solutions.
Foreign ministers also argued that the move helped end decades of intersectarian violence and jeopardized the peace in Northern Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement, which has been in place since 1998.
The Johnson administration has hoped the bill would pass, and it will be debated again in Congress on July 13 until the summer vacation begins later this month. This could become law by the end of 2022.
A trade war between the two major economic partners has risen as the European Union threatens to retaliate if the UK retaliates against the UK.
Separately, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Baradkar told the BBC on Sunday that it was not the right or the right time to conduct a poll on Irish reunification.
Varadkar said such a referendum, which is allowed under the Good Friday Agreement when a majority in Northern Ireland is considered likely to support Irish unity, will be split and defeated for now.
The delegated legislature, the Northern Ireland Assembly, was paralyzed for months by the implementation of the Protocol, leaving no local government.
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