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Brexit dispute: Great Britain unilaterally extends transitional phase for Northern Ireland


The government in London unilaterally changed part of the Brexit agreement with the EU. Brussels is outraged.

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In the Northern Irish town of Larne, a truck is waiting to continue


Brian Lawless / AP

The UK has arbitrarily extended a transition period for food deliveries to Northern Ireland.

Accordingly, the regulation with minor controls will be extended until October.

The British government is unilaterally changing part of the Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Companies should be given adequate time "to implement new requirements and to ensure the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland," as British Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis said.

Great Britain had already requested such an extension at the beginning of February.

Relations between Great Britain and the EU threaten to deteriorate further, the EU spoke of a "breach" of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Vice Commission President Maros Sefcovic criticized that the unilateral measure "undermined" the work of the Joint Committee and also mutual trust.

It was disappointing that the UK government had not informed him as co-chair of the committee.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that unilateral action would harm "building trust and partnership."

Northern Ireland is still part of the EU internal market

The Northern Ireland Protocol provides that Northern Ireland will in fact continue to be part of the EU internal market.

This is to prevent controls on the border between Northern Ireland and the EU state Ireland in order to prevent the violent conflict in Northern Ireland from flaring up.

In order to do this, goods transported from the rest of the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland must in part be controlled.

In order to avoid problems, there is currently a transition phase of several months that should end at the end of March.

Nevertheless, many companies complain of difficulties in trading between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in some cases supermarket shelves have remained empty.

After the transition phase, a health certificate must be presented for deliveries of animal products.

It is not the first time the EU and the UK have clashed over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Already at the end of January there had been a dispute over possible controls of vaccine deliveries to Northern Ireland, an emergency mechanism built into the protocol then caused criticism.

The Northern Irish Prime Minister Arlene Foster subsequently spoke out in favor of abolishing the entire protocol because it would lead to considerable tension.

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hba / dpa / Reuters

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-03-03

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