EU rejects UK demand for changes in the post-Brexit deal

Photo: EU Maros Sefcovic

Brussels immediately rejected UK’s demand for changes in the deal overseeing problematic post-Brexit trade involving Northern Ireland, Reuters reported. The Northern Ireland protocol was part of the Brexit settlement, backed by PM Boris Johnson, that finally sealed Britain's divorce from the EU four years after voters backed leaving in a referendum.

Businesses in Northern Ireland say it is damaging trade, and some pro-British groups have protested at what they say is a weakening of ties with Britain, raising concerns about a return to the violence which plagued the province for three decades.

"We cannot go on as we are," Brexit minister David Frost told parliament on Wednesday. He said London wanted a new "balance" to eliminate EU oversight of the accord, and that Britain already had the right to unilaterally deviate from parts of it.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic was clear that the protocol could not be redrawn, saying Johnson and Frost had negotiated it. "We will not agree to a renegotiation of the protocol," he said. "Respecting international legal obligations is of paramount importance."

"We will continue to engage with the UK, also on the suggestions made today," Sefcovic said in a statement. "We are ready to continue to seek creative solutions, within the framework of the protocol, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland."

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