Boris Johnson justifies his reversal on the Brexit deal to deal with EU ‘threats
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended on Saturday September 12 his intention to partially reverse the Brexit deal in the face of the “threat” that the European Union would establish a “food blockade” in Northern Ireland. “If we do not accept the terms of the EU, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full trade border there” between the province and the rest of the kingdom, justified the first minister in a text published by the Daily Telegraph .
According to him, Brussels could not only impose customs duties on products arriving in the British province from the rest of the country, but also establish “a blockade” and prevent “the transport of foodstuffs to Northern Ireland” .
“I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be able to use a treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade part of the UK or that they would actually threaten to destroy our economic integrity. and territorial ” , accuses the conservative leader.
While negotiations to avoid a “no deal” at 1 st January are deadlocked, London blamed in Brussels the origin of the dispute that has soured this week a new round of negotiations and giving concerns about those are scheduled for next week in Brussels. The discord erupted when the British government presented to Parliament on Wednesday 9 September a bill that partly contradicts the agreement already signed on the UK’s exit from the EU – a move in violation of international law, admitted Boris Johnson, but to whom he says he was forced.
” It’s ridiculous. Mr Johnson insists on having the butter and the money in the butter, ” Spanish MEP Luis Garicano told the BBC on Saturday, stressing that the provisions concerning Northern Ireland were present in the agreement that the first Minister had signed in January. According to a report published on Saturday morning by the Financial Times , several British officials warned Boris Johnson in January that the Brexit deal he was about to sign carried this type of risk.
The signed text provided for the British province to remain subject to certain European provisions for four years, particularly concerning trade. But with the controversial bill being considered by British MPs on Monday, London will be able to take business decisions unilaterally there, contrary to what was initially agreed. The situation then escalated, with the EU saying it would sue the UK if it did not withdraw its changes by the end of September. On Friday night, European Parliament leaders threatened to veto any trade pact if London failed to deliver on its promises.
“Very significant consequences for the British economy”
A no-deal Brexit will have “very significant consequences for the British economy” , not for the EU, warned German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Saturday after a meeting with his European counterparts in Berlin. According to European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, it is up to London to “restore confidence” with the EU.
It is in the name of this broken confidence that several rebel Conservative MPs threatened Friday, during a chaotic virtual meeting, not to vote the bill, fearing that Boris Johnson’s turnaround could damage the credibility of the United Kingdom- United on the international scene.
“We can not leave the theoretical power to divide our country in the hands of an international organization” , Boris Johnson answered them Saturday in his platform, affirming to them that it was “vital” to adopt the project of law to “end this possibility” . Determined to move quickly, Boris Johnson’s government intends to begin the process of examining its bill in the House of Commons on Monday, where it has a majority of 80 seats.
The issue of the British province of Northern Ireland has long been one of the sticking points in Brexit negotiations, with London fearing a return to a physical border on the island of Ireland, bloodied by three decades of ” Troubles ” until the signing of the Good Friday peace accords in 1998.
“We do not agree,” write in the Sunday Times to be published Sunday, September 13 the former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major, who led Great Britain during the peace talks of the 90s. “The action of the government does not protect the Good Friday agreement, it puts it in danger, ” they say in a four-handed text, calling Boris Johnson’s explanations “ nonsense ” . “The world is watching the UK in amazement (…) as the actions of this government shame it and embarrass our nation,” they add.