Government refuses EU request for customs office in Belfast and asks officials to fly in regularly instead
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
The government has rejected a request for an EU customs office in Belfast and asked officials to fly in regularly instead.
The UK insists the office will sow political divisions in the nation while Europe says it will be essential in upholding terms in the Withdrawal Agreement and other trade deals.
Brussels suggested the move was made out of concerns the UK might renege on commitments within the agreement. Officials say that recent grandstanding by Boris Johnson and senior ministers, coupled with a declaration from chief UK Brexit negotiator, David Frost, that the UK will not seek an extension under any circumstance, has created the uncertainty.
You may also want to watch:
The British government refused a request by the EU to establish a 'technical office' to oversee customs arrangement, instead insisting officials would be better off travelling to the Northern Ireland border from Europe than live in the capital.
- 1 Brexit regret: Meet the Leave voters who wish they hadn't voted Leave
- 2 Boris Johnson vows action over 'absurd' post-Brexit trading arrangements
- 3 Defence minister Johnny Mercer 'trying to resign' - reports
- 4 Government scraps Brexit permits to enter Kent
- 5 Opposition parties push for probe into Boris Johnson's conduct following viral video
- 6 Why everyone in rents in Germany
- 7 No 10 says Johnny Mercer is 'valued' minister as it attempts to stop him resigning
- 8 How will you vote in the upcoming elections?
- 9 Plan for White House-style briefings axed despite £2.6m spend on media room
- 10 Divided Britain: North and south more estranged than Scotland and England
It fears establishing the outpost could exacerbate divisions in Stormont which is split down religious lines.
Ten out of 18 Northern Irish MPs protested against decision and said the office would not only help uphold customs rules, it would also protect protocols enshrined under the Good Friday agreement.
Brussels has said it would be used purely to oversee trade and customs agreements between the UK and EU.
Mairead McGuinness, an Irish vice-president of the European parliament, felt a Belfast mission was a fair trade off. She told The Guardian: 'Belfast is perhaps more neutral than having such an office, tasked with overseeing the protocol's implementation in Northern Ireland, in Dublin or London.'
The decision will be revised on Thursday during a sitting of 'specialised committee' on Northern Ireland.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.