In mid-December, Truss took the lead in the British government’s negotiations with the European Union over changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit agreement. Next week, you will meet in person for the first time in this position with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maros Zivchović, who is responsible for the negotiations on the EU side. Prior to this meeting, Truss published a text in the Sunday Telegraph endorsing the hard line offered by her predecessor David Frost.
“I am prepared to work day and night to negotiate a solution. But let me be clear: I will not sign anything that will prevent people in Northern Ireland from enjoying the same tax and spending decisions as the rest of the United Kingdom, or anything else. It will ensure that goods transported within our country continue to be monitored”- Truss Books.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was drawn up to prevent the return of the difficult border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the absence of which was considered a precondition for the continuation of the peace process in that British province. Under the protocol, Northern Ireland remained in the EU’s single market for the circulation of goods, and the result was a de facto customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, and some goods had to be checked. This situation is causing problems with the supply of goods to Northern Ireland, and unionists there believe that the protocol undermines the current status of the province.
Truss reiterated that if no compromise could be found with the European Union, the British government was willing to use art. 16 of the protocol, which allows unilateral comment to apply in certain cases.
“My priority is to maintain peace and stability in Northern Ireland. I want a negotiated solution, but if we have to use legitimate safeguards, including Article 16, I am willing to do so. This safeguard clause is clearly articulated – and agreed upon by all parties – “In order to alleviate serious problems due to the sensitivity of the issues at hand” – stressed the head of British diplomacy.
The European Union has said it does not consider the use of Article 16 to be justified and has warned that it could lead to the collapse of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that governs relations between London and Brussels after Brexit.
“We’ve heard that before from the government, so we’re not surprised. We’re not very impressed. I think we should focus – or at least we focus – on trying to find solutions to the difficulties in implementing the protocol,” said EU Ambassador to the UK Joao Valle de Almeida. “.
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