The United Kingdom decided unilaterally on Wednesday to extend the period during which British companies do not pay import duties on goods entering Northern Ireland until October 1. Ireland and the European Union are not satisfied with this.
British Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis came up with a plan Wednesday evening. In it, he outlined some measures to make it easier for British supermarket companies who also have a store in Northern Ireland. This is accompanied by a lot of additional management.
Northern Ireland has not been a member of the European Union since Brexit, but it is part of the European Customs Union. This means that the country must comply with European rules regarding food safety, among other things. Thus taxes are also imposed on goods entering the country.
So far, supermarkets have been granted some relief from the European Union and these taxes didn’t have to be paid, but that was only temporary. However, Lewis now decided to extend that period until October 1 without consulting the European Union.
That has gone down badly in Ireland. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney described the measure as “not very helpful in building the relationship of trust necessary to implement the Irish Protocol.”
There is no border on the island of Ireland
Coveney thus refers to the agreements on the borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland is a member of the European Union, but Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. However, in 1998 it was agreed not to create a border on the Irish island.
This has led to major tensions since Brexit, and British and European negotiators are now trying to resolve it. Coveney says unilateral decisions will not advance those talks.
The European Union is also disappointed. “This is a violation of the provisions of the Irish Protocol,” European Brexit negotiator Marus Sivkovic said in a statement. It is also a clear departure from the constructive approach so far and undermines work on both sides. ”Sevkovic said that the European Union would respond” appropriately “to the decision.