Q. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, envisages new legislation which would undermine key parts of the Brexit agreement, in particular Northern Ireland’s status in trade relations with the EU. Were you informed of this plan and what is your reaction?
A. The agreement on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, agreed in October 2019, settles the essential separation issues: financial regulation, the protection of citizens’ rights and the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. The implementation of this withdrawal agreement remains a priority for the European Union, in parallel with the negotiations on the future relationship.
Let me remind you that the Protocol aims to guarantee peace on the island of Ireland by preserving both the absence of a border between the two Irelands and the integrity of the single market. Among other things, the United Kingdom pledged to carry out checks on goods in transit to the EU. The honouring of these obligations and the United Kingdom’s contribution to a constructive dialogue with the EU in the framework of the Joint Committee provided under the withdrawal agreement are essential.
The European Union regularly draws attention to the link between the smooth implementation of the provisions on the withdrawal agreement and the negotiation on the future partnership between the United Kingdom and the EU: it is a question of trust between the Parties and of honouring the commitments made. If this trust is undermined, the negotiations on the future relationship will be affected by it.