Below are the responses in full from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to questions posed by Irish Times Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary.
A government source said the Taoiseach had not been given any advance warning of the EU decision to invoke the article in the protocol.
The source said the article may have been inadvertently triggered by “someone who did not understand the political implications” of the decision.
Some EU officials are understood to be livid about the move, which they see as ruining the work they’ve done since the Brexit vote in 2016.
In a steep escalation of the EU’s fight to secure vaccine supplies, Brussels had said it would trigger clauses in the Northern Irish Protocol in the EU-UK withdrawal agreement to control shots moving across the open Border between the State and the North. It said this plan aimed to prevent the movement of vaccines onwards into the rest of the UK via a Northern Ireland “backdoor”, while preserving the capacity to allow shipments into the North.
It comes after the bloc invoked part of the Northern Ireland Protocol in an attempt to stop vaccines made in the EU from getting into the UK through the back door.
The protocol, which is part of the Brexit deal, allows goods from the EU to be exported to Northern Ireland without checks.
However the EU triggered Article 16 of the protocol tonight to slap temporary export controls on vaccines sent to Northern Ireland.
Am Abend stimmte das Parlament dann in erster Lesung für die umstrittene Änderung des Brexit-Vertrages. Für die Gesetzesvorlage votierten 340 Abgeordnete, dagegen 263. Das neue Binnenmarktgesetz würde den im Januar mit der EU geschlossenen Brexit-Vertrag einseitig ändern.
In einer ersten Abstimmung hat sich allen Warnungen zum Trotz eine Mehrheit im britischen Unterhaus für das umstrittene Binnenmarktgesetz von Premier Boris Johnson ausgesprochen. 340 der Abgeordneten votierten gestern Abend für das Gesetz, mit dem Johnson Teile des gültigen Brexit-Deals ändern will.
Boris has, in effect, created our very own backstop.
Oh the irony.
1. Bob Neil
2. Geoffrey Cox
3. Simon Hoare
4. George Freeman
5. Tobias Ellwood
6. Damian Green
7. Damian Collins
8. Sir Oliver Heald
9. Sir Roger Gale
10. Gary Streeter
11. Rehman Chishti
12. Jack Lopresti
13. Sajid Javid
14. Charles Walker
15. Jeremy Wright
16. Andrew Mitchell
– Sajid Javid and Geoffrey Cox have both said they cannot support PM’s proposal
Watch the House of Commons from 2:30pm on Monday as three days of intensive debate and scrutiny on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill begins.
Published last Wednesday, the Bill sets out rules for the operation of the UK internal market- trade between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland- after the end of the transition period in January.
BUSINESS OF THE DAY
1. United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: Second Reading
Until 10.00pm (Standing Order No. 9(3))
Europe’s refusal to offer its neighbour and security ally even a bare-bones trade deal is a hostile posture that has consequences
Im Zuge des Brexit-Streits debattiert das britische Unterhaus heute Nachmittag über das Binnenmarktgesetz. Mit dem geplanten Gesetz will Premierminister Boris Johnson Teile des bereits gültigen Brexit-Abkommens aushebeln. Dabei geht es um Sonderregeln für das britische Nordirland, die eine harte Grenze zum EU-Staat Irland und neue Feindseligkeiten dort verhindern sollen.
We decided in the Withdrawal Agreement to create a Joint Committee, in which we would thrash out the details of these new arrangements. It is here that things risk coming unstuck. We are now hearing that unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish sea. We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.
I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be willing to use a Treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade one part of the UK, to cut it off; or that they would actually threaten to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the UK. This was for the very good reason that any such barrier, any such tariffs or division would be completely contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday agreement. By actively undermining the Union of our country, such an interpretation would seriously endanger peace and stability in Northern Ireland. This interpretation cannot have been the real intention of those who framed the protocol (it certainly wasn’t ours) – and it is therefore vital that we close that option down.
He wrote: “We are now hearing that, unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea.
“We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.
PM defends decision to alter Brexit divorce deal, saying he cannot hand Brussels the ‚power to carve up our country‘
Even if the UK leaves without a deal, the Northern Ireland protocol would kick in.
The Northern Ireland protocol replaced the NI backstop created as part of Theresa May’s deal.
The protocol is due to come into force on January 1, 2021, the end of the transition period.
Zwischen der Republik Irland und Nordirland besteht seit 1998 eine „weiche Grenze“. Johnsons „No Deal“-Brexit könnte dies bald ändern.