On June 23, it will be six years since the British population decided that their country would no longer be part of the European Union. However, the consequences of that decision continue to be a headache for both parties, especially, but not only, with regard to the position of Northern Ireland, which, although it belongs to the United Kingdom, also shares an island with the Republic from Ireland, a member of the EU. The situation has reached such a point that this Monday the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has presented a bill in the House of Commons that will allow him to unilaterally modify the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Brexit agreement and that establishes customs controls that, however, cannot suppose a hard border between the two Irelands
, to protect the peace that was signed in 1998.
Johnson pointed out that the document only contains some "trivial" adjustments, a simple "bureaucratic change", but the opposition and some conservative parliamentarians consider that the country could violate international law. From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs they defend that “the Bill will allow the government to address the practical problems that the Protocol has created in Northern Ireland in four key areas: cumbersome customs processes, inflexible regulation, discrepancies in taxes and expenses, and governance issues. democratic".
“This bill will uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and support political stability in Northern Ireland. It will put an end to the untenable situation whereby the Northern Irish are treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom, it will protect the supremacy of our courts and our territorial integrity", defended the British Minister for Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss, who argued that "this it is a practical and reasonable solution" that will "safeguard the EU single market and ensure that there is no hard border on the island of Ireland". "We are ready to achieve this in talks with the EU, but we can only move forward in the negotiations if the EU is willing to change the Protocol itself, and at the moment it is not."
Problems over the agreement have also caused a blockage in the formation of a government in Stormont, since the unionists of the DUP refuse to govern with Sinn Féin if the Protocol is not eliminated.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor Party, considered that this bill will reduce, rather than increase, the chances of a negotiated change with the EU. You have to "accept that there are some problems with the way the protocol works" but "they will not be solved by legislation that violates international law," he said.