Irish foreign minister warns of breakdown in EU-UK relations

Irish foreign minister warns of breakdown in EU-UK relations


LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s foreign minister has warned that British demands risk a “further breakdown in relations” with the European Union ahead of talks this week aimed at resolving the impasse over the Brexit agreement.

Simon Coveney posted the remarks on Twitter after the U.K.’s Brexit minister reiterated his insistence that the European Court of Justice must not be allowed to oversee implementation of the deal. Coveney described this as a new “red line’’ that will impede progress in the negotiations.

“Does (the U.K. government) actually want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?’’ he wrote.

The European Commission is expected this week to publish its proposals for breaking the deadlock over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that has a land border with the 27-nation bloc. The British government has sought to renegotiate part of its divorce deal with the EU that requires customs and border checks on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.

The regulations are intended to ensure goods entering the EU’s single market meet European standards while keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process. But the checks have angered Northern Ireland’s unionists, who say they weaken the region’s ties with the rest of the U.K. and make it harder for businesses to operate.

“The role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland and the consequent inability of the U.K. Government to implement the very sensitive arrangements in the protocol in a reasonable way has created a deep imbalance in the way the protocol operates,’’ British negotiator David Frost said in remarks released ahead of a speech Saturday in Lisbon....

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