Terrorists Blow Up Bus In Northern Ireland As Brexit-Deal In Danger Of Collapse
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made one of his most audacious diplomatic maneuvers yet since arriving at No. 10, infuriating many of his EU allies by declaring that a provision of the Brexit agreement that had been formerly been known as the “Northern Irish” provision would likely be cast aside by the British like skunked beer, despite threats from the EU that doing so would constitute a violation of the agreement.
London has continued checking goods heading to destinations in the UK, but when it comes to goods bound for the EU, inspections on goods crossing through the Irish Sea into Northern Ireland, the standards they use are decidedly more lax.
All of this has been tantamount to PM Boris Johnson and his government declaring that they had officially abandoned the Northern Ireland agreement, which was designed to prevent checks of goods from taking place in the middle of the Irish Sea.
Irish Foreign Minister Coveney said that would be seen by the EU as “deliberately forcing a breakdown in relations and negotiations between the two sides”.
During the beginning of the Brexit talks, both sides agreed that protecting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a top priority for both the Europeans and the Brits. However, according to the BBC, this is how the checks between the two nations work.
Brussels isn’t happy with this. And the rising tensions have left Brussels and London on the verge of yet another trade war.
If London triggers Article 16 of the Brexit deal, the EU would interpret that as a declaration of (trade) war.
Leaders of Northern Ireland’s pro-UK unionist parties criticised an unnamed EU diplomat who was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying EU leaders were increasingly frustrated and “prepared for peace [but] ready for war” over Article 16. They said the phrase, paraphrasing a loyalist paramilitary slogan, was fanning tensions.
Per the FT, the UK’s Johnson signed the agreement in 2019 and promised during that year’s general election campaign that it would not create any checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, the government now says the protocol represented a huge compromise by the UK, and it has accused the EU of applying it too rigidly.
Brexit Minister Lord Frost has submitted proposals to change the protocol.
They include getting rid of customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and relying on the “the honor system”, allowing goods to circulate freely in Northern Ireland if they conform to either EU or UK regulations. At the moment they have to meet EU standards.
But in an indication of just how high tensions are running between the two neigbors right now: A bus was hijacked by 4 bearded men and set on fire in NI as a physical gesture of protest against the UK’s alleged encroachment on the Irish trade trade deal.
“The criminals behind these reckless and cowardly attacks have done nothing more than harm their local community, depriving them of a critical public service,’’ she said.
“It is another extreme act of self harm consistently rejected by the people of Northern Ireland.”
Now, let’s hope that’s the last major terroristic incident to unfold in response to the latest trade spat.