Britain and Ireland debate Brexit deal on Twitter

David Frost, British Brexit negotiator reiterated his view that there must be “significant changes” in the Northern Ireland protocol which governs trade and border rules, Ireland and Britain traded barbs via Twitter on Sunday.

This protocol was part of the Brexit settlement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had negotiated with the EU. However, London repeatedly stated it must be rewritten within a year of its inception due to the restrictions businesses face when importing British products into Northern Ireland.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, tweeted: “Real Question: Does UKG (UK Government), actually want an agreed path forward or a further breakdown of relations?”

Frost retorted, saying “I prefer not to negotiate via Twitter but since @simoncoveney started the process …”

Frost rejected Coveney’s claim that he was making demands. He stated that Britain’s concerns about the role of the European Court of Justice in the process had been raised three months prior.

Frost stated that Frost was wrong to say that “too few people seem like they have listened.”

Frost released excerpts from a speech that he will deliver this week, calling for change and signalling his desire to have the protocol freed from the control of European judges.

Coveney of Ireland responded by saying that Britain had set a new “redline” barrier to progress and that the EU could not move forward.

This row occurs at the beginning of a crucial week in the ongoing debate about how to manage goods flows between Britain, Northern Ireland, and the EU.


On Wednesday, the European Commission will present new measures to facilitate trade. However, it is unlikely to make the “significant changes” London has demanded to the protocol.

These measures will ease customs controls and clearance of meat and dairy products, as well as the flow of medicine to Northern Ireland from Britain mainland.

The Commission will also outline plans to engage with politicians, business people and other people in Northern Ireland.

These proposals could allow supermarkets in Northern Ireland to import sausages from Britain and other chilled meat products that are prohibited from entering the European Union.

Northern Ireland, while still part of the United Kingdom has remained in the EU’s single European market for goods. This means that exports to the rest of the bloc do not have to go through customs, tariffs, or paperwork. This creates an effective border at the Irish Sea that hinders trade between GB and Northern Ireland, angering pro-British unionists in the province.

According to the Commission’s plans, British sausages would be allowed into Northern Ireland if they were only intended for Northern Irish consumers.

Frost will give a speech in Lisbon to the diplomat community on Tuesday, the day before the announcement.

He will state that endless negotiations are not an option and that London must use the Article 16 safeguard mechanism to ensure solutions can be found quickly.

Article 16 permits either side to unilaterally take action if the protocol has a negative effect.

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