The subject of Brexit remains on the political agenda. London wants “big changes” in Northern Ireland Protocol. The President of the European Commission categorically rules out renegotiation.
Brussels / London (dpa) – The dispute over the special Brexit rules for Northern Ireland escalates.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made it clear to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday that the EU would rule out any changes to the agreed rules. “We will not renegotiate,” she said after a phone call with Johnson. The EU will therefore remain flexible and enable creative solutions to problems – but the solutions must be found within the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.
According to a spokesperson, Johnson had again personally pleaded for “major changes” to the protocol in the telephone conversation. The existing mechanisms could not have found solutions to the current problems, it said. According to a report, Johnson also made a telephone call on Thursday for the renegotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
Specifically, Britain wants to largely abolish goods controls for food and other goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The controls were agreed upon by both sides in the Brexit deal to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the EU member state of Ireland. Otherwise, the conflict in the former civil war zone is expected to flare up again.
If Britain does not comply with the control rules in the long term, it must expect a lawsuit before the European Court of Justice and ultimately sanctions from the EU. Brussels laid the groundwork for the lawsuit in March when it launched a so-called infringement procedure. This could be continued soon when the Commission sends a reasoned opinion to London. This would be a formal request to abide by the contractual agreements. If the UK remains stubborn, the Commission could refer the matter to the Court of Justice.