Lord Frost to call for European Court of Justice to be removed from oversight of the NI Protocol

The UK wants the European Court of Justice (ECJ) removed from oversight of the NI Protocol, Brexit negotiator Lord Frost will say in a speech next week. "Without new arrangements in this area the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive," he will say.

The EU will bring forward proposals on Wednesday for reforming the protocol, focussing on easing practical problems, rather than changing oversight arrangements.

The protocol is a special Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, agreed by the UK and EU in 2019, intended to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.

It has, however, created a new trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, causing practical difficulties for some businesses while unionists say it undermines Northern Ireland's constitutional position as part of the UK.

The UK government also wants to reverse its previous agreement on the oversight role of the ECJ, which is the EU's highest court. In a paper published in July, it said it had only agreed to the ECJ's role because of the "very specific circumstances" of the protocol negotiation.

It now wants a new governance arrangement in which disputes should be "managed collectively and ultimately through international arbitration."

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, however, said last week: "I find it hard to see how Northern Ireland would stay or would keep the access to the single market without oversight of the European Court of Justice."

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