Britain will extend Northern Ireland’s “grace period” for the third time
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The British government will extend the so-called “grace period” in order to relieve the burden of the disputed part of the Brexit agreement regarding trade with Northern Ireland after Brexit.
This move is expected to be formally confirmed in a written ministerial statement submitted to Parliament earlier this week, aimed at allowing future negotiations on the problematic agreement (called the Northern Ireland Agreement) to continue for a few more months.
Both parties stated that they are seeking to avoid a repetition of the tensions that some Brexit-supporting British media called the “sausage war” earlier this year, and to allow more time to negotiate and resolve the issues caused by the agreement.
Two senior EU officials with knowledge of the EU’s discussions with the UK said that the expected extension will not cause a strong reaction in Brussels.
“The idea is that the UK will continue to apply the same conditions, and we will assume that this will continue to allow the discussion to end,” an EU official said.
Lord David Frost, Secretary of State for Brexit, requested Destructive change He warned that the current form of the agreement was “unsustainable” due to the bureaucratic burden faced by British companies shipping goods to the region.
According to the terms of the agreement, all goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland must comply with EU customs regulations and product regulations.
Bureaucratic requirements, including export health certificates, were initially alleviated through a “grace period” that lasted three to six months, aimed at reducing paperwork and allowing companies time to make adjustments.
The grace period was extended, first unilaterally by the United Kingdom in March, and then again by the agreement of Brussels in June. The latest extension will expire in October.
The new extension will allow continued negotiations on Britain’s request to amend the agreement. However, officials on both sides said that almost no progress has been made in the summer negotiations, and the UK and the EU are still adopting antagonistic approaches to resolve difficulties.
in a Speech last weekend Frost reiterated to the British-Irish Association that the United Kingdom is seeking a fundamental rewrite of the agreement and warned that “solutions involving’flexibility’ in the current rules will not work for us”.
However, the EU is very clear that EU capitals are not interested in rewriting the agreement, and any solution must come from the flexibility of the agreement.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (Leo Varadkar) reiterated this position on Monday. He acknowledged that the agreement caused some “real interference” and the European Commission is willing to resolve these issues within the terms of the existing agreement.
“We really don’t see a reason to renegotiate [the protocol] Soon, we think most solutions can be found in existing agreements,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Nowadays program.
According to the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, all goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland must comply with EU customs and product regulations, establish a trade border in the Irish Sea, and now divide the UK’s own internal market.
As part of the agreement negotiated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in October 2019, new border inspections are required to “complete Brexit” and avoid restoring the North-South trade border on the island of Ireland, which was set in 1998 got canceled. Good Friday agreement to end decades of sectarian conflict in the region.
The governments of Brussels and Ireland argued that the UK should reach a veterinary agreement with the European Union to reduce the need for inspections of agricultural products, which is responsible for most of the difficulties. But the British government stated that it cannot accept the level required to be consistent with EU laws and standards.
If an acceptable solution cannot be found, Frost warns that the trade interruption between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is severe enough to justify the use of Article 16. This is a safeguard clause in the protocol that allows any party to take unilateral but limited actions while negotiating a mutually agreed solution while mitigating the impact of the agreement.
Downing Street said it will “soon” inform the council of its so-called “pause” arrangement, which will provide certainty for businesses.