Post Brexit in danger. The Northern Ireland protocol is the one that establishes the non-border and the conditions of customs passage between Ireland, the last European border, and Northern Ireland, British territory.
Ulster Prime Minister Arlene Foster decided to challenge in court the protocol signed with the European Union, the most sensitive part of Brexit, as “incompatible with the agreements of Good Friday and Act 1800 of the Union ”of the United Kingdom.
That means that the most delicate instrument that maintains Brexit and through which goods pass to Great Britain and Europe can fall. No one uses Calais or the other ports anymore. All trucks go to Ireland and from there to Great Britain, via Northern Ireland, which still remains in the European single market.
It all started with the vaccine war, when European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen activated Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol and imposed a hard border on the spot. He believed that the Astrazeneca and Pfizer vaccines passed through that border, which were missing from the EU and were going to Great Britain. It was not true, the diplomatic act was a mess and rectified. But the damage was done.
The democratic Protestant unionists, who exercise power in Northern Ireland, never believed in the Northern Ireland protocol, they were not even warned by the EU. They immediately demanded that Boris Johnson be repealed.
Simultaneously the Protestant Loyalist militias, who oppose the Protocol, reappeared on the edge and threatened truckers and customs officers. They were the protagonists of the religious civil war in the province against the Catholic Republicans for 30 years, with 3,000 dead.
El gesto de Von der Leyen woke up the worst demons of the civil war between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland and it jeopardized the Good Friday Agreement, which protected it.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the EU to relax some step measures and the Europeans refuse. Nor can crustaceans like oysters, lobsters, clams from Great Britain pass over to the mainland and fishermen melt.
Arlene Foster, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, challenges the legality of Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland Protocol, arguing that “Is incompatible with the agreement of Good Friday of 1998 and the Law of Union of 1800 ”.
Foster, along with leading MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party, will seek to overturn the protocol, which imposes controls on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
Unionists are furious about the necessary new regulatory and customs processes to bring goods to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, under the EU withdrawal agreement.
Lord Frost, the new Brexit minister, is in talks with the EU to ease some of the restrictions, having taken over the negotiations in place of Michael Gove. However, Brussels has made it clear that it will not accept any significant changes to the agreement, arguing that It is up to the UK to make the protocol work.
It has now emerged that food traders will face another layer of bureaucracy sending fresh processed meat, such as hot dogs, to the province. Britain got a six-month waiver from an EU-wide ban on importing such products from outside the bloc as part of a deal last December. However, now the merchants must present an export health certificate personalized. Despite this, such products could still face a total ban, when the exemption period ends in June.
Foster said that the Northern Ireland protocol clearly violated previous legislation. “Fundamental to the Act of Union is unrestricted trade across the UK“, He said. “At the center of the Belfast agreement was the principle of consent. Now they have brought a horse and a driver through the Union Accord and the Belfast Accord,” he said.
Irish politicians are concerned at the decision of the Protestant Prime Minister, in fragile Northern Ireland, where because of protocol supermarkets have empty shelves.
Colum Eastwood, leader of the nationalist and Catholic SDLP, called the legal action badly judged. He said it will “strengthen the feverish political climate and create more uncertainty for people and businesses.” “There will be few who sympathize with the argument that the protocol, which prevents a firm border in Ireland and guarantees dual market access for local businesses, violates the Good Friday agreement,” he said.
Micheal Martin, the Irish Prime Minister, has urged the DUP “to reduce rhetoric and work to resolve issues with the protocol”.