‘We’ll act if you don’t change,’ Boris Johnson warned the EU on Northern Ireland protocol. 

As a result of a long-running disagreement over the agreement, Northern Ireland joined the EU single market for goods. Loyalist DUP factions are refusing to return to Stormont’s power-sharing executive unless “decisive action” is taken by the UK government.

‘We’ll act if you don’t change,’ Boris Johnson warned the EU on Northern Ireland protocol. 

There have been significant changes since the Protocol was signed, according to Mr Johnson in the Belfast Telegraph: “It was designed before a global pandemic and a European war which has created a cost-of-living crisis on a scale not seen for half a century.”

As a challenge to Brussels, Prime Minister Johnson said: “We have been told by the EU that it is impossible to make the changes to the Protocol text to actually solve these problems in negotiations – because there is no mandate to do so.”

“We will always keep the door wide open to genuine dialogue. And we will continue to protect the single market – as it has been protected throughout the existence of the Protocol so far  and the open border with the Republic of Ireland which will always be of paramount importance.”

“There is without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected. Our shared objective must be to create the broadest possible cross-community support for a reformed Protocol in 2024.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Mr Johnson said: “There has been a lot of talk, a lot of threats, about what the EU will or won’t do. That is up to them.”

“As far as I am concerned, our primary duty as the British Government is to look after political stability in Northern Ireland. If that means relooking at the Protocol, we absolutely have to do that.”

“I think this talk of a trade war is irresponsible and I think it is completely getting ahead of ourselves.”

“It is up to the EU. We think it would be completely self-defeating if they went into a trade war, but that is up to them.”

While in Northern Ireland, Mr. Johnson will convey to the country’s leaders the need of restoring power sharing at Stormont as part of any post-Brexit trade regulation changes.

The anti-protocol Democratic Unionist Party has refused to participate in the parliament since the election on May 5.

Without them, no new government can be established.

People expect the prime minister to say something like, “There’s no substitute for strong local leadership.”

“I hope the EU’s position changes. If it does not, there will be a necessity to act. The Government has a responsibility to provide assurance that the consumers, citizens and businesses of Northern Ireland are protected in the long term. We will set out a more detailed assessment and next steps to Parliament in the coming days”.

According to Brussels, taking such a unilateral step to abandon a fundamental part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would be an obvious violation of international law.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, warned that if the UK’s actions caused major uncertainty on the island of Ireland, there would be a “consequence.”

The DUP has urged the government to break the gridlock in Stormont by taking action rather than just talking about it.

On Monday, party chief Sir Jeffrey Donaldson remarked on Mr Johnson’s upcoming visit: “The Prime Minister’s visit to Northern Ireland is a recognition that the protocol is not working and is harmful to Northern Ireland. Those problems must be addressed.”

“We await to hear what the Prime Minister has to say, but we will not make judgments based on words. It is decisive action that must be taken. The problems have been clearly identified and I have set out seven tests against which action will be judged.”

“Until that action is taken, the consensus necessary for powersharing in Northern Ireland does not exist. We respect the mandate received by other parties but equally, they must recognise the clear view expressed by the unionist electorate.”

“We have been waiting a long time for this moment and unionism has been both reasonable and patient.”

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