Brexit: EU accuses London of breaching agreement

On Monday, the European Union initiated infringement proceedings against the UK for violation of the Brexit agreement. The move comes amid a row over checks on goods passing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. London had unilaterally extended an exemption rule on this and complained that Brussels was trying to establish a new border within its national territory. How can the tensions be defused?

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Brussels forcing the impossible on Northern Ireland

The Brexit agreement undermines the UK's territorial integrity, The Daily Telegraph complains:

“The hypocrisy is clear, especially as [the EU] is now criticising the British Government for acting unilaterally. Mr Johnson stood on a Brexit platform, won on a Brexit platform and will be judged on a Brexit platform. At the heart of his Brexit promises was a commitment to deliver the country out of the EU as one United Kingdom. The [Northern Ireland] Protocol stands in the way of delivering that central promise. Even if people have yet fully to appreciate it, the UK is in the midst of a constitutional crisis over Northern Ireland.”

The Guardian (GB) /

London squandering the last remnants of trust

The Guardian criticises the British government's approach:

“For such an arrangement to work, Brussels needs to have confidence that the UK respects its legal obligations to police the regulatory line, and unionists need to appreciate that it is an administrative boundary, not a partition or a plot to hasten Irish reunification. That mutual understanding can only come about with the cultivation of trust, which is in short supply. The UK government's behaviour seems designed to deplete stocks even further. Perhaps the goal is to sabotage the protocol so that some renegotiation becomes inevitable, with an unregulated border as a fait accompli.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

A reboot of UK-Ireland relations needed

London and Dublin still need to find a way to deal with each other after Brexit, The Irish Times concludes:

“The delusion that the UK can build its new global role on the back of purely bilateral relationships, or that it can use them to divide EU partners from each other, as it tried unsuccessfully to do during the Brexit process, would be a shaky basis. The context of any relationship with Ireland is its membership of the EU and the reality that it is both part of the EU's decision-making and allows the latter to negotiate on a range of competences from fisheries to the now-vexed issue of policing external trade. But Dublin can and should talk to London bilaterally about anything.”