Leading EPP Group MEPs have strongly criticised the British Government’s intention to launch unilateral action against the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit Treaty as reckless and disappointing.
The move was attacked by MEPs Seán Kelly and Christophe Hansen.
They issued a statement which said “The anticipated announcement is reckless and disappointing, but sadly what we have come to expect from the current UK Government. No problem will be solved by this manoeuvre. It will create more difficulties in these particularly challenging times in Northern Ireland. It would shred the British Government’s reputation globally, damaging its prospects for other potential trade deals such as with the US, for example”.
“Prime Minister Johnson has demonstrated that he is willing to sacrifice the UK economy, Northern Ireland’s future and Britain’s reputation to distract from embarrassing political gaffes at home. The havoc this disastrous own goal could wreak on the people and businesses of Northern Ireland is extremely regretful”, stressed Kelly, First Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly.
“The Protocol has insulated Northern Ireland from the economic impact of Brexit. It is clear that the region’s recent economic growth is due to access to the EU’s Single Market and the UK market, highlighting the Protocol’s positive potential”, Kelly added.
The MEPs are urging the UK to return to the negotiating table instead. While it remains to be seen whether any legislation aimed at subverting the Withdrawal Agreement will become domestic law, the EU would have no choice but to protect the Single Market, EPP Group Spokesman on International Trade Hansen warned:
“We are disappointed that the UK would consider taking this unilateral step after all the efforts by the EU over the last months to find a mutual solution. During this exceptional time, with Putin’s war in Ukraine and the vast implications of these unprecedented events, the UK Government chooses to create more problems rather than work to resolve them.
“Such action could increase the risk of a hard border on the island of Ireland and endanger the existence of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement as well as the whole Trade and Cooperation Agreement. If the UK proceeds with these plans, we must explore all political and legal tools in order to respond in the right way”, Hansen underlined.