Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, May 10, Alexander De Croo warned scrapping the Brexit Protocol would result in the “whole system to be revoked”.
He said: “Our message is quite clear: Don’t touch this … if that agreement would be revoked, then I would think that the whole system will be revoked.
“I would not see any other solution.”
Echoing his words, Chancellor Scholz also said: “We have found a good way for Northern Ireland and no one should unilaterally override the arrangement which we have agreed together.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is set to ditch large parts of the Northern Ireland protocol after giving up on talks with the European Union on a Brexit deal, The Times reported.
London and Brussels have been trying for months to break a deadlock over the Northern Ireland protocol, a deal which London struck before it left the bloc and now says is unworkable.
The deal in effect created a customs border in the sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom to preserve the province’s open land border with EU member state Ireland.
Ms Truss said on Wednesday, May 11, that EU proposals to rethink checks on goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland failed to address the core problem, “and in some cases would take us backward”.
“Prices have risen, trade is being badly disrupted, and the people of Northern Ireland are subject to different laws and taxes than those over the Irish Sea, which has left them without an Executive and poses a threat to peace and stability,” she said in a statement.
“The answer cannot be more checks, paperwork and disruption.
“Our preference has always been for a negotiated solution but (we) will not shy away from taking action to stabilise the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found.”
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He also said that the balance of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement was being undermined and the recent elections had further demonstrated that the protocol was not sustainable in its current form.
“Despite repeated efforts by the UK Government over many months to fix the protocol, including those sections related to the movement of goods and governance, the European Commission had not taken the steps necessary to help address the economic and political disruption on the ground,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
“The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK Government would take action to protect peace and political stability in Northern Ireland if solutions could not be found.”
However, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has warned the UK Government against taking unilateral action on the protocol.
Mr Varadkar told RTE: “We can’t have any unilateral action from the UK. This is an international agreement, they have to honour their obligations. I was in the Wirral with Boris Johnson. I know what he agreed to.
“The people of Northern Ireland voted and they did not vote for a majority of MLAs who want the protocol to be scrapped. So the British Government has to have regard to that. This is a democracy and an election just happened.
“The British Prime Minister and the Secretary of State need to be wise to that, if they’re not already.”