Boris Johnson’s Threats to Abandon Brexit Deal on the North ‘Not Helpful,’ Says Ireland’s EU Commissioner

Irish EU Commissioner Mairéad McGuinness has warned U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to abandon his threats to set aside Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit special trade status, the Independent.ie reported. McGuinness was speaking after a visit to London for talks on the U.K.’s money market status in the EU after Brexit, which included a meeting with British finance minister Rishi Sunak. She said the EU will soon publish new proposals to deal with practical problems on the North’s trade with England, Scotland and Wales, especially focused on ensuring medical supplies. But she warned that triggering a safeguard clause in the EU/U.K. Brexit deal governing trade with Northern Ireland was “not helpful.” Talk of this threat persists, especially ahead of the U.K. Conservative Party conference, which opens in Manchester on Oct. 3. The Financial Services Commissioner said London should instead pursue “practical solutions” to how the Northern Ireland Protocol functions. She again insisted that London/Brussels deals done in late 2019 and again in December 2020 cannot be re-opened — and there can be no question of opening an escape clause, under Article 16 of the deal, an emergency clause in the Northern Ireland Protocol that allows parts of the deal to be temporarily set aside. Read more.