UK gives EU two weeks to change NI deal or risk new ‘approach’ by London

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A sign is seen on the approach to the port town of Larne protesting against the Irish Sea border imposed by Brexit. (Photo credit by PA)

The UK has given the EU two weeks either to risk unilateral action by London or agree the Axis trade checks launched by Brexit deal for Northern Ireland (NI).

Warning over the maintenance of the NI Protocol crisis, the ministers said that a new “approach” will be set out this month if talks fail to agree a breakthrough on the case.

For the first time, “trade diversion” has been described as “one of the problems” due to the increase in sales of goods in the Republic of Ireland because of the trade boundaries created in the Irish Sea.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has accused Brussels of “intransigence” in the ongoing talks and of a “lack of understanding of the sensitivities” in the province, in new war of words.

Meanwhile, David Frost, the Brexit minister, declared that Britain will not adopt European Union (EU) legislation on agricultural foods, and a fresh approach would be announced instead before MPs leave Westminster for their summer recess, on 22 July.

Speaking to an event hosted by the Policy Exchange think-tank, Frost reiterated that the new approach is “essential for setting out how we will proceed for the rest of this year.”

However, he was accused of “profound dishonesty” in denying that signing the Protocol would create the deep problems, to which he replied, “It’s a bit more complicated than that.”

"We are sometimes accused of being ideological for not accepting that, but actually the ideological thing is to say the only solution to these problems is that we should adopt EU law, and that is simply a non-starter," he added.

Frost’s comments came on the heels of EU’s calls on the UK to agree a Swiss-style veterinary agreement.

The EU has accused the UK of violating the protocol by controlling the ports of Northern Ireland and providing maritime trade data, but Frost insisted that strict EU law enforcement was the “the root of the problem.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly threatened to invoke Article 16 if the EU does not make concessions, but refuses to abolish it entirely.

Article 16 of the NI Protocol is about suspending the flash-point parts of the Protocol.

The new threat will exacerbate the EU’s concerns that the UK is determined to abolish the legal agreement and has simply “banked” the concessions it has made, before asking for more.

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