There is disagreement between the EU and Britain over the Northern Ireland Protocol: the UK has pledged to control trade in goods between Britain and the island of Ireland for free movement on the Northern Irish border, but de facto two separate divisions of the country into the customs territory.
But the move, which was very harmful to the British, was not carried out by the government, in violation of the exit agreement, and it turns out today that it did not really intend to implement it. And in recent weeks, Boris Johnson’s government has threatened that if the Northern Ireland Protocol is not renegotiated, it will simply end it, allowing British products to flow freely into the EU.
The European Union is willing to change to avoid closing the northern Irish border, thus risking further armed conflict.
The proposal is being presented today by the European Commission, and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says many food items will be exempted from oversight under the new proposal. In addition, the EU has made sure that there are no impediments to the flow of medicinal products at the sea border of the North Sea-Britain (ie within the UK), as the EU initiates changes to the existing rules.
However, the most significant development is that, according to Coveney, controls on the flow of products at the British northern border could also be lifted if the British side provided a satisfactory system for data exchange and labeling. The European Commission will publish this proposal tonight, but the big question is how acceptable it will be to the British.
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