Senior MEPs hit out over latest Brexit row

The European Parliament's UK Contact Group co-Chairs David McAllister, Bernd Lange and Nathalie Loiseau have reacted angrily to the latest Brexit impasse on the Irish Protocol.

They have issued a statement after a meeting with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

The statement reads, "We are deeply concerned with the UK’s unilateral action, which constitutes a serious and unacceptable breach of international law."

It goes on, "The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill puts into question the credibility of the UK Government to comply with its international obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, damages mutual trust and creates uncertainty for people, investors and business in Northern Ireland."

The MEPs added, "We call upon the UK government and UK Parliament not to adopt the proposed bill and to return to the discussion table to find practical, flexible and durable solutions within the legal framework of the Protocol."

The Parliament says the EU-UK relationship must be based on full respect of our mutually agreed, legally binding commitments. We recall that the conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement was a pre-condition for the negotiation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

It adds, "The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland can only be implemented through genuine dialogue.

"We support Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, co-Chair of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement Partnership Council, in his approach to secure the implementation of the Protocol by reacting proportionately to the UK Government’s unilateral action, while continuing to engage with the people and businesses in Northern Ireland to find practical solutions.

"The recent legislation on medicines and the package put forward by the Commission in October 2021 show that the Protocol provides for flexibility. We fully support the European Commission’s call on the UK government to engage on joint solutions," it says.

The European Parliament’s UK Contact Group stresses that:

  • "in order to have a positive and stable relationship, the EU and the UK must comply with the provisions of the two Agreements the parties have negotiated, signed and ratified: the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement;
  • a renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, is not an option; and
  • only joint solutions would create the legal certainty that the people and businesses in Northern Ireland deserve."

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