reland’s foreign affairs minister has accused the UK Government of dismissing EU solutions to the Northern Ireland Protocol before they are published.
Simon Coveney also accused the British Government of “shifting the playing field” away from solving issues around the controversial protocol.
He made the comments in response to the Brexit minister’s demand to drop the role of the European Court of Justice from the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Lord Frost is to give a speech on Tuesday, in which he will make removing the role of the ECJ in Northern Ireland a red-line issue.
“Each time that the European Union comes forward with new ideas and new proposals to try and solve problems, they are dismissed before they are released, and that’s happening again this week,” Mr Coveney said.
He said European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic and his negotiating team have spent months preparing a package to resolve ongoing issues, which they will publish on Wednesday.
In a post on Twitter at the weekend, Mr Coveney argued that the British Government has created a new “red line” over the ECJ.
He admitted that his tweet in response to the comments was “not very diplomatic” but said it is “not very diplomatic” of the UK Government to brief the British media.
“David Frost accuses me of raising issues on social media. It’s a bit rich, quite frankly, because he is briefing British media effectively to say ‘Well, the EU can make the changes that they need to make, but actually it’s not enough, we want more’, and now it’s the ECJ is the main issue,” Mr Coveney told RTE Morning Ireland.
The EU tries to solve problems, the UK dismisses the solutions before they’re even published and asks for more
“Yes, it’s true that they raised ECJ issues in a command paper in mid-summer, but the truth is, if the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, in terms of the functioning of the EU single market, was an absolute red line for the UK, why did they sign up to an agreement that allowed the ECJ to effectively be the final arbiter for the implementation of the protocol in Northern Ireland?
“This is being seen across the European Union as the same pattern over and over again – the EU tries to solve problems, the UK dismisses the solutions before they’re even published and asks for more.”
Mr Coveney also said that Northern Ireland and the Republic will suffer the most from ongoing tensions.
“I’ve spoken to many Unionists and I’ve spoken to many business people in Northern Ireland, and none of them are raising the issue of the ECJ jurisdiction in terms of the interpretation of the EU single market on the implementation of the protocol,” the Fine Gael minister added.
“They are raising practical issues around freedom to trade without checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“The European Commission is trying to solve those issues as much as they can within the confines of the protocol.
“The British Government seems to be shifting the playing field now away from solving those issues, which they presume they have compromised on, and now opening up this red-line issue of the jurisdiction of the ECJ.”
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