reland’s Foreign Affairs Minister has warned his British counterpart that introducing a Bill to unilaterally amend the Northern Ireland Protocol will breach international law and “deeply damage” relationships.
Simon Coveney said the new Bill “marks a particular low point in the UK’s approach to Brexit”.
The British Government has defended the new Bill, saying it is “lawful” and “correct”.
The legislation will give ministers powers to override elements of the protocol, which was jointly agreed by the UK and EU as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to keep the Irish land border free-flowing.
The arrangements instead require regulatory checks and customs declarations on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
During the call, which lasted 12 minutes, Ms Truss said she intends to publish the legislation on Monday.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “Mr Coveney said publishing legislation that would breach the UK’s commitments under international law, the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol is deeply damaging to relationships on these islands and between the UK and EU.
“Mr Coveney said it marks a particular low point in the UK’s approach to Brexit, especially as Ms Truss has not engaged with negotiations with the EU in any meaningful way since February.
“Mr Coveney repeated that the protocol is the negotiated solution, ratified by Westminster, to the hard Brexit pursued by the UK Government.
“The UK’s unilateral approach is not in the best interest of Northern Ireland and does not have the consent or support of the majority of people or business in Northern Ireland.
“Far from fixing problems, this legislation will create a whole new set of uncertainties and damage relationships.”
The Bill due to come before Parliament will see the Government move without the consent of the EU to change the terms of the protocol in a bid to reduce the checks on the movement of goods across the Irish Sea.
This could include allowing ministers to remove all customs processes for goods moving within the United Kingdom and enable the frictionless movement of agri-food goods staying within the UK.
It could also see businesses in Northern Ireland given the ability to choose whether to follow UK or EU regulations, depending on who they are trading with.