Germany and Ireland slam UK’s plan to scrap Northern Ireland agreement

EuroActiv Politico News

Germany and Ireland have slammed the British government’s “unilateral” plans to walk back the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland.

Britain’s approach threatens to undermine the “rules-based international order” amid a brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, said Foreign Ministers Annalena Baerbock of Germany and Simon Coveney of Ireland, writing in the Observer on Sunday.

“In these difficult times, as Russia is leading a ruthless war in Ukraine, breaking with our European peace order, the EU and U.K. must stand together as partners with shared values and a commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules-based international order,” the ministers wrote.

Adding to the mounting opposition in Europe and in the U.K., the politicians said there was “no legal or political justification” for a new British law to ditch post-Brexit trade rules, which aim to prevent a land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU country.

The comments come after the British legislation last week cleared the first hurdle in the U.K., prompting renewed anger from EU countries including Germany’s vocal new government.

Boris Johnson’s government in June unveiled a bill that would enable ministers to ignore parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, a key part of the Brexit divorce deal meant to preserve peace on the island of Ireland and protect the EU’s single market post-Brexit. The EU shortly after hit back at the U.K. with legal action, accusing the country of failing to meet some of its Brexit deal obligations. The European Commission has also said the U.K.’s bill “breaks international law.”

Baerbock and Coveney said the EU had been and continues to be “flexible and creative” to deal with trade issues. But the British government “chose not to engage in good faith with these proposals,” they said.

“We urge the British government to step back from their unilateral approach and show the same pragmatism and readiness to compromise that the EU has shown,” the German and Irish ministers said.

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