To resolve the Northern Ireland Brexit row, the EU has offered to ease border checks.
In the hopes of preventing a new Brexit spat with Britain, the EU promised on Wednesday to lessen customs checks and paperwork on British exports destined for its region of Northern Ireland.
The offer was part of a package of suggestions aimed at resolving concerns in Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements, which London claims are reigniting intercommunal tensions.
The ideas were given to London by a team of EU negotiators on Wednesday, a day after UK Brexit Minister David Frost suggested the current Northern Ireland arrangement, known as the Protocol, should be scrapped.
“I listened to Northern Irish stakeholders and engaged with them. The suggestions we’ve put out today are a genuine answer to their concerns “Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, remarked
“In the interests of all communities in Northern Ireland, we look forward to engaging earnestly and exhaustively with the UK government,” he said.
Despite the EU’s refusal to amend the protocol, a statement said the plans were “a alternative model” for implementation and would “significantly” ease trade concerns.
The protocol was the cause of the greatest squabbles in Britain’s long-drawn divorce from the European Union after the country chose to leave in 2016.
The preservation of peace and stability on the island of Ireland, which is divided between the EU’s Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland, is at stake.
Since the January start of the Brexit trade arrangements, Britain has become more irritated with the protocol rules it signed and accepted as part of its divorce, which created a de facto trade barrier within the UK.
This necessitated the installation of new checkpoints at ports to prevent products from England, Scotland, and Wales from entering the EU through the back door.
The British government, on the other hand, points to pro-UK unionists in Northern Ireland who are concerned that the checkpoints will enhance pro-Irish republicans’ case for a united Ireland and lead to a divide within the UK.
London has requested a comprehensive revision of the protocol, including the removal of the EU court’s role in resolving disputes under its rules, which the Europeans have rejected.
To defuse tensions, the EU issued four texts addressing a variety of issues, including complaints about limited medical supply, overzealous food safety inspections, and excessive paperwork.
The alternatives, when combined, would provide a “fast lane” for goods flow from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, according to the EU.
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