Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Europe

UK still wants deal with EU on Northern Ireland Brexit rules — minister

LONDON — Britain still wants to resolve a row with Brussels over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, a senior minister said, as he was pressed on reports the U.K. is preparing to unilaterally rip up parts of the arrangement.

In an interview with ITV News, the U.K.’s Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, declined to confirm multiple reports that legislation paving the way for Britain to ignore parts of the controversial Northern Ireland protocol is being readied for next week’s queen’s speech. That speech marks the opening of a new parliamentary session and sets out the U.K. government’s agenda.

Asked if Britain is preparing to announce a plan along those lines, Lewis said: “Our focus is on resolving the issues with the protocol, ideally we want to do that by agreement with the European Union.”

Pressed further on whether an announcement would come next week, he said: “No … we’ve not said that.”

And he added: “What we’ve been clear about is at the moment, the protocol is causing problems in civic society, it’s causing problems with the Good Friday Agreement. Our duty to the people of Northern Ireland is to resolve those issues. Yes, we want to do that with the EU and that’s what [Foreign Secretary] Liz Truss has been focused on.”

U.K. ministers have previously acknowledged that the government is considering a range of options in case the talks with the European Commission on the protocol — which was drawn up to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit but is deeply unpopular with Northern Ireland’s unionists — do not yield solutions. But they have stopped short of publicly setting out their thinking.

Truss reiterated to her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney Wednesday evening that the protocol “is not working,” while the Irish minister told her during the same phone call that “unilateral action [is] not the way forward.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like

Europe

Carl Bildt is the former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden and the co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Russia’s illegal...

Europe

Press play to listen to this article MARSEILLE, France — Sitting in a café in Marseille, the firebrand leader of the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon,...

Europe

Belgium has become the first country to introduce a compulsory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients after reporting four cases of the disease in the...

Europe

Having settled in Brussels after three decades reporting about the broader Middle East, Hugh Pope is preparing for publication “The Keys to Democracy,” a...

Europe

Canada has targeted media tycoon Alexander Lebedev as part of a wave of fresh sanctions against Russian oligarchs, in a move that places greater...

Europe

Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese will be the country’s new prime minister, following incumbent Scott Morrison’s failure to win enough seats for the...

Europe

Moldova’s defenses should be bolstered to help guard against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vision for an expanded Russia in Eastern Europe, U.K. Foreign Secretary...

Europe

The G7 member countries agreed Friday to ramp up their capabilities to fight future pandemics. “This pandemic will not be the last. We have...