Northern ireland’s head of government arlene foster considers the provisions of the brexit agreement on northern ireland "unworkable. The politician from the protestant DUP party told the british radio station BBC 4 on saturday.
She now wants to lobby british prime minister boris johnson and the irish government in dublin to abolish the so-called northern ireland protocol. It led to considerable tension in the british part of the country, so foster.
The arrangement, under which the british province of northern ireland will remain part of the european single market despite the brexit, has recently caused difficulties in the retail sector and led to some empty supermarket shelves in the province. However, the background to the current demands is the EU’s at least contemplation of drawing an emergency mechanism in the northern ireland protocol. The move led to an outcry across all political camps in great britain and both parts of ireland on friday.
Brussel had announced that exports of vaccines would be subject to approval in the future. According to the announcement, controls at the border between EU member ireland and the british province of northern ireland also appeared possible. To avoid this, however, brexit negotiators had struggled for years to reach an agreement. Checks on the internal border are seen as poison for the fragile peace process in the former civil war province of northern ireland.
Although the EU commission made it clear this evening that it does not want to draw lots for the emergency mechanism, the political damage is severe. Prime minister johnson had expressed ‘grave concern’. The government in dublin, which was apparently not involved in the decision, was irritated.
Irish minister simon coveney urged that lessons be learned from the incident. "The (northern ireland) protocol is not something to be trifled with lightly. It is an essential and hard-won compromise to protect peace and trade for many," coveney said.