Liz Truss ‘determined’ to renegotiate Northern Ireland Treaty

New British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Wednesday she was “determined” to work with “all parties” to resolve the crisis linked to the post-Brexit status of Northern Ireland, which has caused a political deadlock in the province and a showdown with the European Union. The Northern Irish protocol, negotiated at the time of Brexit, creates a de facto customs border between the island of Great Britain and the British province, complicating supplies and angering Unionists attached to belonging to the United Kingdom.

“We need to address the problems of the Northern Irish protocol, which has damaged the balance between communities in Northern Ireland. I am determined to do this and determined to work with all parties to find a solution,” she said during her first question and answer session in parliament as head of government. “My preference is for a negotiated solution, but then it must take up the elements of our legislation on the Northern Irish protocol,” she insisted.

Safeguarding the Peace in Northern Ireland

Faced with the deadlock of local political institutions and after months of fruitless negotiations, London has indeed introduced a law, currently under parliamentary review, to reverse certain key provisions of this agreement unilaterally, attracting threats of reprisals business in Brussels. The European Commission, for its part, has launched a total of seven infringement procedures against London for non-compliance with the protocol.

The latter was designed to meet a dual objective: to protect the integrity of the single European market and to avoid the return of a land border which would risk undermining peace. However, for several months, the Unionists have refused to form a local executive, supposed to be shared with the Republicans of Sinn Fein now in the majority, if the text is not challenged. “We can’t let this drag on because my number one priority is to protect the supremacy of the Good Friday Agreement,” which in 1998 ended three decades of conflict between Unionists, mostly Protestants, and Republicans essentially Catholic supporters of reunification with the Republic of Ireland, insisted Liz Truss.

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However, the text was never fully implemented because grace periods on controls were introduced and extended for products such as non-frozen meat or medicines. This dispute is also at the heart of tensions between London and Washington, and the subject was broached on Tuesday evening during the first telephone conversation between Liz Truss and Joe Biden, with Irish roots.

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