The UK unilaterally decided on Wednesday to extend the period during which UK businesses do not pay import duties on goods entering Northern Ireland until October 1. Ireland and the European Union are not happy with this.
British Minister for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis presented a plan on Wednesday evening. In it, he described some measures to make it easier for UK supermarket companies which also have a store in Northern Ireland. With that comes a lot of extra administration.
Northern Ireland is no longer a member of the EU since Brexit, but is part of the European customs union. This means that the country must respect European rules on food safety, among others. Thus, taxes are also levied on goods entering the country.
Until now, supermarkets have been given a respite from the EU and these taxes did not have to be paid, but it was only temporary. However, Lewis has now decided to extend this period until October 1 without consulting the EU.
It has fallen seriously in Ireland. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney qualifies this measure as “extremely unnecessary to build the relationship of trust necessary for the implementation of the Irish protocol”.
No border on the island of Ireland
Coveney thus refers to the agreements around the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland is a member of the European Union, but Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. However, in 1998 it was agreed never to create a border on the Irish island.
This has led to considerable tensions since Brexit and UK and EU negotiators are now trying to resolve them. Unilateral decisions will not move these talks forward, Coveney says.
The EU is also disappointed. “This is a violation of the provisions of the Irish protocol,” writes European Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic. an announcement. “It is also a clear departure from the constructive approach so far and it undermines work on both sides.” Sefcovic said the EU would respond “appropriately” to the decision.