The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will travel to the United Kingdom this Monday with the aim of closing, together with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, a new agreement on Northern Ireland after Brexit. Negotiations for the new pact have been finalized for a couple of weeks, but the prime minister had to overcome the reluctance of the Northern Ireland authorities and the hardest wing of his party. The conversations have multiplied in recent times until this Sunday Von der Leyen and Sunak have issued a joint statement in which they assure that they will take the reins of the negotiation.

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Everything points to a white smoke. “Today, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, have agreed to continue their work in person for shared and joint solutions to the complicated set of challenges over the protocol of Ireland and North Ireland. President Von der Leyen will meet the Prime Minister in the UK tomorrow [por el lunes]”, reads the statement. The intention is that later both appear jointly before the press.

Sunak and Von der Leyen have already addressed the matter, which has been piloted by the British Foreign Minister, James Cleverly, and the EU negotiator for this issue, the Vice President of the European Commission Maros Šefčovič, in a meeting last weekend at coincide at the security conference in Munich.

The British Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, assured this Sunday that the agreement was “about” to be closed and that it will be “a matter of days, not weeks”. In an interview on the “Sky News” channel, Raab has assured that, according to the terms of what was negotiated with Brussels, the role of the European Court of Justice “will be significantly limited” to resolve possible disputes between the EU and the United Kingdom. in Northern Ireland. He number two The Executive also announced that the cabinet of the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, will give up promoting the law that would allow breaking parts of the protocol unilaterally, reports the EFE Agency.

The situation in Northern Ireland is one of the main problems that has arisen between the United Kingdom and the EU since Brexit due to controversial border controls on goods passing through British territory on the island of Ireland. When Brexit was negotiated, one of the main obsessions was that there would be no land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That is why a protocol was devised, signed in 2020 and which entered into force on January 1, 2021, which means that there are no customs controls by land between Northern Ireland and Ireland (to preserve the peace agreements), but it did oblige put checks and checks at entry points to prevent it from affecting EU trade in goods. Those entry checks on trade between the UK and the EU were agreed to be carried out at the Northern Irish entry points.

However, the protocol signed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not worked well and has been systematically broken. The European Commission opened a file against the United Kingdom in June last year with the intention of ending up in court for constant non-compliance and the threat to the single market in the EU.

Sunak’s arrival at Downing Street opened a new phase in EU-UK relations. In recent months, new conditions have been being negotiated for that protocol of Ireland and Northern Ireland that could put an end to the conflict. The UK Government’s proposal involves creating two categories of goods: those that are traded exclusively between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), which would pass minimal and automated controls; and those that are destined for Ireland and the rest of the EU, which should go through controls in the ports of Northern Ireland and be subject to the rules of the internal market of the EU and its courts, which is what raises suspicions to the tories located further to the right and the nationalist unionists of Northern Ireland (DUP), who keep the formation of a government blocked in Belfast.

For its part, the British Government has announced the simplification of the paperwork that EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom have to do since Brexit and who were even threatened with expulsion from the country.

Cleverly and Šefčovič’s conversations have multiplied in recent dates with agreement drums beating for a couple of weeks. Sunak has worked hard to try to convince the politicians and leaders of Northern Ireland and the most reluctant of his party, who are threatening an internal rebellion at a time when the newly elected prime minister has everything against him, starting with the surveys and following by inflation and widespread discontent that has resulted in almost weekly strikes. From the EU they have avoided ruling at all times on the negotiations under the premise of not entering into the internal situation of the prime minister.


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