'It's Not Working': UK Brexit Minister Tells EU Northern Ireland Protocol 'Has to Change'

© AP Photo / Peter MorrisonFILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019 file photo motorists pass along the old Belfast to Dublin road close to the Irish border in Newry, Northern Ireland
FILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019 file photo motorists pass along the old Belfast to Dublin road close to the Irish border in Newry, Northern Ireland - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.10.2021
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Last week, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic announced that the EU plans to brief London on new "far-reaching" proposals pertaining to the pressing issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) next week.
UK Brexit Minister David Frost has told the EU that the Northern Ireland protocol, which regulates post-Brexit trade, "has to change" because it "is not working".

"The EU and we have got into a low equilibrium, somewhat fractious relationship, but that it need not always be like that, but also that it takes two to fix it", Frost said during a speech in Lisbon.

The minister emphasised that London would not "gratuitously" trigger Article 16, a clause which is specifically designed to allow the EU or the UK to override the agreement if the Northern Ireland Protocol starts causing "economic, societal, or environmental difficulties".
"It is our responsibility to safeguard peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland and that may include using Article 16 if necessary. We would not go down this road gratuitously or with any particular pleasure".
The Telegraph reported earlier in the day that Frost would warn that if Brussels fails to make fresh concessions on the Northern Ireland Protocol, there will be consequences.
The newspaper saw the excerpts of his speech and wrote that Frost was to urge the European Commission to acknowledge that the European Court of Justice (ECJ)'s jurisdiction in Northern Ireland should be scrapped. The jurisdiction stipulates the province continuing to stick to EU single market and customs rules.
© RIA Novosti . Eddie MulhollandBritain's Brexit Minister David Frost chairs the first meeting of the Partnership Council with European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London, June 9, 2021.
Britain's Brexit Minister David Frost chairs the first meeting of the Partnership Council with European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London, June 9, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.10.2021
Britain's Brexit Minister David Frost chairs the first meeting of the Partnership Council with European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London, June 9, 2021.
"For the EU now to say that the Protocol – drawn up in extreme haste in a time of great uncertainty – can never be improved upon, when it is so self-evidently causing such significant problems, would be a historic misjudgment", the Brexit minister was to argue.

He was to add that Brussels' reluctance to make concessions would be "a great disservice to Northern Ireland, and also fail to recognise the process of iterative improvement that has kept the balance and sustained the peace process in Northern Ireland over the past decades".

The remarks come after European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic signalled the EU's readiness to brief the UK on "very simple but far-reaching" proposals related to the Northern Ireland Protocol by "the middle" of this week.
Sefcovic is reportedly considering tabling at least four papers to improve the protocol, including measures to resolve the availability of UK-approved medicines and inspections on meat, dairy, and plant products.
The Guardian cited an unnamed source as saying that the European Commission's proposals include a "national identity" exemption for British sausages from EU rules on prepared meat, which may help tackle a protracted dispute between Brussels and the UK government on the issue.

The claims came as the head of the Irish government, Micheal Martin, argued that the EU "is in solution mode and will be coming forward with proposals in relation to this issue". According to him, the UK government is "solution-focused as well".

This was preceded by Brussels and London agreeing on a six-month "grace period", which has been in place since January, to temporarily suspend the rules of the protocol, including on the deliveries of chilled meat to Northern Ireland. In early September, the "grace period" was unilaterally extended by London.
Loyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
UK Threatens to Ditch Northern Ireland Protocol, Urges EU to Start Negotiations ‘Seriously and Soon’
While the UK is no longer in the customs union with the European Union, Northern Ireland remains an entry point into it, creating a de facto customs border down the Irish Sea.
Accordingly, food products entering Northern Ireland (NI) from Britain require professional certification and are subject to checks and controls at ports.
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