Simon Coveney, who is also Ireland’s foreign secretary, insisted that the blockade would keep an eye on the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol while talks on the future free trade agreement were held in “parallel” . He told reporters in Brussels that the EU will continue to offer “very strong support” in Dublin at the next stage of the negotiations. “We all know what’s in that protocol and there’s a lot of work going on to ensure it’s going on in a lot of time,” he said.
“These structures need to be put in place in parallel with the progress of negotiations and discussions on future relations and the future trade agreement. From an Irish perspective which is really important for obvious reasons.”
The warning comes amid fears in Brussels that Johnson does not implement the necessary controls and customs tariffs on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the government is responsible for carrying out customs checks and for collecting tariffs on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
EU officials believe this could create a potential flashpoint during the trade talks, which will begin next month after the UK formally leaves the blockade on January 31st.
On the prospect that the UK does not fully implement the Northern Ireland protocol, an EU source warned: “It is counterproductive and will backfire.”
Coveney said that “there is no way” that Brussels will accept a free trade agreement without a level playing field to eliminate “unfair competition” between UK and EU businesses.
“I don’t think anyone in the UK should underestimate the strength of sentiment that will guarantee in future new business relationships that there will be no disparity in the cost of producing products in the context of a level playing field,” he added.
His comments also come as a rejection to Sajid Javid, who has warned that there will be a decisive break from EU rules, saying that “we will not be an observer of the rules”.
In a weekend interview, the Chancellor told the Financial Times: “There will be no alignment, we will not be an observer of the rules, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the ‘year. “
He added that businesses will have to “adapt” to a new reality as the United Kingdom detaches itself from the EU regulatory bubble.
“There will be an impact on business in one way or another, some will benefit, some will not,” he said.
“Once we reach this agreement with our European friends, we will continue to be one of the most successful economies on Earth.”
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A spokesman for the European Commission confirmed the delay.
He said: “The institutional reality is that the Commission can only adopt its proposals for negotiating directives after the United Kingdom has actually withdrawn from the EU.
“But there is still an institutional process on the adoption by the European Council and this will take some time.
“We said that we would start negotiations as soon as possible,” he added, pointing to possible dates in late February or early March.