Implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and establishing long-term relations

Brussels. In light of persistent disagreements over post-Brexit trade agreements, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has asked the two sides to reflect on the long-term relationship. Von der Leyen said in Brussels on Tuesday that she was convinced that the tensions could be overcome with a constructive approach.

“I have always said that I want to start over with old friends,” said the European Commission president. Now at first there are difficulties and serious questions that need to be resolved.

“I am absolutely convinced that with a constructive approach and the idea that we know this is a long-term relationship that we are building here, these issues can be easily overcome.”

The background to this is the EU’s dismay at the UK government’s delay in implementing new controls on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. These controls were agreed upon in the Brexit agreement.

Big load of controls

On the other hand, Britain says the controls have put too much pressure on British companies and put the peace in Northern Ireland at risk. At the center of the dispute is the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Brexit mechanism that established a trade border in the Irish Sea to avoid the difficult border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.


EU Parliament approves Brexit trade deal

With Parliament’s approval, the last step in the four-year negotiations regarding Britain’s exit from the European Union has now been taken. © Reuters

“We know that the exit agreement and the protocol are the best we can come up with in a complex situation,” von der Leyen said. “Now it is our duty on both sides to make sure they work and implement it.”

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The EU threatens legal action if the UK does not fully implement the controls. Relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom have been strained since the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1. The two sides argued over issues such as the delivery of vaccines or full diplomatic recognition of the European Union in Great Britain.

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