The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a strong demand to Brussels requesting the change of elements of the Northern Ireland protocol, thereby sparking concern on the continent.
In a recent letter to the EU Commission, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove warned that the protocol must be changed in order to aid trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
After the Brexit transition period which ended on New Year’s Eve, there have been issues on the trade of goods going between the two, which is why Mr Gove demanded alteration of certain elements of the agreement.
Following the development, EU officials are requesting for data from HMRC of which some sources claimed not having access to despite signing a partnership agreement on December 17.
RTE’s Tony Connelly said, “EU sources have expressed concern over the tone of Michael Gove’s letter to his European Commission counterpart on changes the UK is demanding to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“The UK cabinet minister has demanded sweeping and swift changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol as the fallout continues from last week’s move by the Commission to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol over the issue of exports of Covid 19 vaccines.
“EU sources have said the letter resembled an ultimatum to the EU, as tensions mount in Northern Ireland over the impact of the Protocol, which has meant customs and food safety formalities on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.”
The agreement was intended to help keep trade moving smoothly and effectively created a border down through the Irish Sea. The amnesty on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will end in March, prompting Mr Gove to request an extension until January 2023.
Considering that Northern Ireland follows certain EU single market and customs rules, there has been outrage from some parties in Northern Ireland with the DUP calling on emergency trade measures.