After months of barking and barking, the UK has finally bitten with the publication today of a law that rips apart the Northern Ireland Protocol and authorizes the Boris Johnson government to ignore and breach those aspects of the Brexit agreements that it does not they are to his liking, despite having signed them back in the day without anyone putting a gun to his head. Not only that, but he praised them as "magnificent." A European diplomat has stated that “the EU” is not going to sit idly by watching London violate an international treaty”.
The law presented to the House of Commons exempts from European Union customs controls products sent to Ulster from the rest of Great Britain, and limits them to those that are going to continue their journey to the Republic of Ireland (just 5 % of the total); establishes a double regulation, which allows Northern Irish companies to choose between the European and British regulations for imports and exports, state aid and the tax regime; and, perhaps the most explosive issue of all, it ends with a stroke of the pen the agreement for disputes to be resolved by the European Court of Justice, and puts them in the hands of “independent judges”.
"We do not want a conflict with the EU, but we have been negotiating for eighteen months without Brussels having offered any solution to the practical problems that have arisen in Northern Ireland and that threaten the stability of the Good Friday Agreements," he said in the Commons. Foreign Office Secretary Liz Truss. This law does not go against anyone, but defends the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom and the supremacy of our courts, and ensures that Ulster citizens are treated as the same as the rest of the country and not as second.
The law may however take up to a year to come into effect, given opposition to it in the House of Lords, which may block it that long. Boris Johnson also faces a possible rebellion when it is put to a vote in the Commons, but he does not mind re-editing the Brexit wars to try to reinforce an authority greatly diminished by the motion of censure that he passed last week with 41% of the group. parliamentarian against. Numerous deputies, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, have raised their hands to their heads due to the international discredit that non-compliance with a treaty means for the United Kingdom.
Within the Cabinet there have been diverse positions on the legislation, with Economy Minister Rishi Sunak at the forefront of those who opposed it (or asked that it be as unprovocative as possible) for fear of the repercussions of a trade war with Europe in full cost of living crisis. But Johnson ultimately sided with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Eurosceptics, seeking support to try to survive as leader until the 2024 election.
Despite the fact that the law abolishes (from the British point of view) the power of the European Court of Justice to resolve disputes, the unionists of the Ulster Democratic Party, the main Protestant group, have not responded with great enthusiasm and continue to be lazy to allow the formation of a government in the province led by his republican arch-enemies Sinn Fein, who won the last elections. London also fears a backlash from Washington, where the Irish lobby is highly influential.
For the Johnson government it is a tactical decision, in order to pressure Brussels into making concessions that it has so far resisted on the grounds that it must preserve the integrity of the single market. Considers that most of the controls that have multiplied red tape and created supply problems in Ulster can be resolved with flexibility and good faith, and trusts that the publication of the law will push the EU to renegotiate the Ireland Protocol of the North instead of leading to a trade war. He says that since the barking was not enough, he had no choice but to bite.