The United Kingdom is preparing to increase pressure on the European Union this week to agree to an overhaul of its post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland, according to a draft letter released tonight.
Brexit Secretary David Frost will use a speech in Lisbon on Tuesday to say there must be a “significant change” to the Northern Ireland protocol, a day before the European Union releases its own proposals to break the impasse.
The protocol was negotiated as part of the United Kingdom’s separation from the European Union, in order to avoid a difficult border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, by effectively keeping the region in the EU’s single market.
But it has caused outrage from pro-UK unionists in Northern Ireland who argue that the arrangement creates a trade border between the UK and Northern Ireland, undermining its constitutional position in the union.
Frost, who was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator in the run-up to the UK’s departure, has spent most of his time in the Cabinet since trying to persuade the EU to scrap the withdrawal agreement he was pivotal to implementing.
The Times reports that the European Commission will roll out proposals for frictionless trade in “national identity goods” such as sausages for communities in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
Mr Frost will reiterate the UK’s desire to strip the European Court of Justice of its role in governing the protocol, which he will say has “created a profound imbalance”.
He will say “no one should have the slightest doubt about the seriousness of the situation” and again warn that the UK will suspend the protocol if solutions are not found.
“The EU now needs to show ambition and a willingness to address the core issues at the heart of the protocol,” said the Brexit minister.
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