Vice president of the European (EU) Commission, Maros Sefcovic has ruled out renegotiating the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The British government yesterday (Monday, June 13) published a bill outlining changes to the protocol which it insisted were not in breach of international legislation.
British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said that the move was necessary because the protocol is not protecting the commitments to the Good Friday Agreement.
However, Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said that the protocol is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement and protects the 1998 agreement “in all its dimensions”.
He stated that the EU wants to have a “positive and stable relationship” with the UK but this must be based on the full respect of legally binding commitments.
He said the protocol avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland and protects the integrity of the EU Single Market.
“Renegotiating the protocol is unrealistic. No workable alternative solution has been found to this delicate, long-negotiated balance.
“Any renegotiation would simply bring further legal uncertainty for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“For these reasons, the European Union will not renegotiate the protocol,” Sefcovic outlined.
He said that the EU Commission will now assess the UK draft legislation and is considering legal action.
“As a first step, the commission will consider continuing the infringement procedure launched against the UK government in March 2021.
“We had put this legal action on hold in September 2021 in a spirit of constructive cooperation to create the space to look for joint solutions. The UK’s unilateral action goes directly against this spirit.
“The commission will also consider launching new infringement procedures that protect the EU Single Market from the risks that the violation of the protocol creates for EU businesses and for the health and safety of EU citizens,” Sefcovic said.