The Cabinet Office minister told MPs trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would “absolutely take place as it does today”. He said: “There’s no need for exit summery declarations to protect the EU single market.” But Brussels sources claimed the bloc would continue to demand paper work submissions to the European Commission for every product that leaves Northern Ireland.
One said that the UK Government “knows full well” what is expected of them in terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Another EU official added: “Exit declarations are required and it’s not just the Commission who says that, it’s the withdrawal agreement that says that.”
After the fourth negotiating round, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said there were some concerns with the Government’s plans for the province.
The Frenchman on June 5 said: “Some of the objectives set out in this Command Paper – such as avoiding exit declarations on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain – are incompatible with the legal commitments accepted by the UK in the Protocol.”
But Mr Gove warned the EU’s demand could result in the Protocol being rejected by the Northern Irish Assembly in four years’ time.
He said: “The UK’s customs territory is not altered as a result of the Protocol, and unfettered access is one of the clear provisions within the Protocol.
“This takes me to the heart of the approach we take towards the Protocol.
“The burdensome bureaucracy associated with it are as light as possible that would de-dramatise any vote in four years time because if the protocol is seen to be working it’s more likely the alignment provisions can be accepted.
“If it’s the case that it were imposed in an over bureaucratic and burdensome manner that would lead inevitably I think to a greater degree of disquiet than it may have already generated.”
Under the terms of the UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, Northern Ireland whilst leaving the EU’s customs union and single market must continue to uphold the bloc’s customs code.
EU officials argue this includes the enforcing the exit declarations that are collected by the Commission to satisfy World Trade Organisation rules and to monitor shipping statistics.
The bloc has shown no signs it is willing to revisit the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Members of the European Parliament today warned that proper implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement would be the price for a future trade deal.
Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 15:23:00 +0000