Did Sinn Fein leader accuse the British government of trying to circumvent agreements with the European Union by unilaterally extending the import grace period? food products in Northern Ireland.
Britain yesterday extended the grace period to agricultural and food products imported into Northern Ireland until 1 October in an effort to alleviate the problems caused by the Brexi in commercial transactions.
“This appears to be another unilateral attempt to circumvent what has been agreed,” Michelle O’Neill, who took part in the recent EU-UK talks on the issue, told the BBC.
In Dublin, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Cowney said the British government’s decision was “deeply counterproductive”.
“A unilateral announcement is deeply counterproductive in building a relationship of trust and cooperation that is important in the implementation of the (Northern Ireland) Protocol,” the Irish foreign minister said in a statement.
In protest of London’s unilateral move, the European Parliament today refused to set a date for a vote on the European Union-UK trade agreement.
The group leaders of the European Parliament were to set a date in March for the vote during their meeting today. They refused to do so after the British government unilaterally decided to extend the grace period for import controls in Northern Ireland, a move which for Brussels is a clear violation of the terms of the EU-UK divorce agreement.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that the British government had formally notified Brussels and the Irish government of the decision and denied that the move violated the agreements with the European Union. After all, “there is a precedent for this kind of operational measures in other international trade agreements,” he said, insisting that London intended to “abide by its obligations under the Protocol in good faith.”
The British government expects the European Parliament to ratify the Brussels-London trade agreement “as soon as possible”, the spokesman insisted.