US President Joe Biden will warn British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting ahead of the G7 summit not to tamper with Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal agreements with the EU. That writes the British newspaper The Times based on insiders.
The Northern Ireland issue is one of the thorny points in the UK’s deal with the European Union as part of the divorce documents. For example, peace must be preserved in the country, but it is also essential that the British do not have a back door to the EU via the Irish border.
With the drafting of the Northern Ireland protocol, this problem was temporarily solved. But according to Unionists in Northern Ireland, the Brexit deal violates the 1998 peace agreement. According to the British, the protocol in its current form is not tenable.
After the UK left the single European market early this year, controls and duties were introduced on some goods from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland. This is because Northern Ireland does have a physical border with Ireland and, therefore, with the EU. However, Johnson had promised that there would be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Trade between the region and the rest of the UK would continue unimpeded.
London previously decided unilaterally to postpone controlling controls on goods shipped from British soil to Northern Ireland until October 1. It was agreed that this would start on April 1. The EU announced legal action. Ireland is concerned that London wants to completely rewrite the protocol and offer flexibility during the ongoing technical discussions with the European Commission.
Biden, proud of his Irish heritage, will use Thursday’s meeting with Johnson to express US support for the protocol explicitly. According to The Times, he will also warn that the prospects of a US-UK trade deal will be hurt if the situation remains unresolved. Biden will also urge the EU to be more flexible in implementing the agreement.