Sunday, June 26, 2022

The UK and EU should want a quiet resolution to the NI Protocol crisis

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The situation in Northern Ireland needs cool heads. It is overwhelmingly in the interests of the people of the Irish island of North and South that the UK and EU find a calm and orderly solution to the real difficulties created by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It is also largely in the UK’s and EU’s self-interest that there should be as open trading terms as possible between the two entities after the UK leaves the Union. The current difficult economic environment – with UK GDP shrinking in April – makes it all the more important that there are no additional trade barriers. Indeed, a trade war between the UK and its largest export market would be economic madness, not least for the people of Ireland.

However, there is a very real danger that we could slide into this situation. The need to make the protocol work more smoothly is unquestionable, but the government’s proposed revisions are unnecessarily divisive. There is a sharp split within the UK as Boris Johnson claims the changes are ‘no big deal’ while Keir Starmer argues the difficulties with Brussels can be resolved ‘at the negotiating table with statesmanship’ rather than laws that ‘hurt’ . International right”.

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