UK changes course on Northern Ireland protocol pushing for ‘interim’ deal | Brexit



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The UK will change course in the negotiations on the Brexit protocol in Northern Ireland and will push for a “provisional” deal to avoid any further deterioration of political stability in the region.

Brexit Minister David Frost is expected to come up with a new approach based on a “step-by-step solution” with an agreement on customs declarations and physical checks of goods as a priority to deal with the immediate impact on lives and goods. livelihood of people.

It will also come up with a new solution for governance, softening the UK’s demand that the European Court of Justice should be taken out of dispute settlement entirely.

Instead, he thinks a proposal for arbitration in the broader Withdrawal Agreement – which settles disputes in the political arena in the first place – might work in the Northern Ireland context.

In this scenario, the ECJ would only be invited to give its opinion on an issue of EU law if the dispute was not resolved and moved to a second stage of an arbitration panel.

A UK government source said: “Since the EU will not address all of the issues that we have put on the table now, we are ready to look at interim solutions that address the more acute issues. But any such interim agreement must put an end to the ECJ’s settlement of disputes between us and the EU, now and in the future.

The change will be interpreted as a significant setback by Lord Frost who has threatened to blow up the talks on several occasions using Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which would allow him to suspend parts of the deal.

But it appears that fears that Stormont’s decentralized government might collapse before the parliamentary elections in May have re-emphasized the problems.

On Friday, Frost and EU Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič will meet virtually for the second time in a week. Frost is expected to announce that talks will continue into the New Year instead of abruptly ending due to Article 16.

The EU will also announce draft legislation to remove barriers to the supply of medicines in Northern Ireland.

EU law professor at Cambridge, Catherine Barnard, said the suggestions floating around Whitehall for a solution regarding the European Court of Justice were well founded and would actually mean the exchange of Article 12 of the Protocol of Northern Ireland against Articles 169 to 174 of the Comprehensive Withdrawal Agreement.

“I always thought it was a reasonable compromise. But that requires compromises on both sides, ”she said.

“This would require the UK to recognize that there is a role for the ECJ, but it would also require a big compromise for the EU, as it would mean that they do not have the full application of the recourse system. the EU to use in litigation, ”she added.

It would also require reformulating part of the withdrawal agreement that the EU has vehemently opposed.

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