The one-month delay brings more uncertainty to an already fragile start to a new economic relationship.
The UK has agreed to allow the EU to delay ratifying its post-Brexit trade deal for a month, adding more uncertainty to the already fragile start of the new relationship between the two sides.
In a letter to the European Commission on Tuesday, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said he hoped the EU “should be in a position to meet its internal demands” by the end of April and that the UK ” would therefore not be invited to extend the period of provisional application. “
The trade, security and fisheries agreement was signed on December 24, just days before Britain left the EU’s single market and customs union. The Commission has applied the deal on a provisional basis to give the European Parliament – which has veto power over the entire deal – until the end of February to consider it.
While the parliamentary vote would normally be seen as a formality, growing concerns from the EU about what the UK could do to tackle trade issues with Northern Ireland mean lawmakers could threaten to refuse their approval.
“We are now 10 weeks away from the reality of our new relationship with the UK,” Maros Sefcovic, the EU commissioner responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Brexit deal, told reporters in Brussels. “We have already seen some of the changes brought about by this and I think it is clear to everyone now that our partnership with the UK does not replicate or resemble its former membership in the European Union.”
The trade deals for Northern Ireland have been one of the most controversial parts of the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU and have sparked new disputes since the completion of the Brexit process at the end of 2020.
As goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK face border delays, the London government seeks to postpone the implementation of comprehensive customs checks on medicines, packages and supplies to supermarkets until 2023. The EU has already indicated that this request will be refused.
Gove and UK chief Brexit negotiator David Frost are expected to meet with Sefcovic on Wednesday to discuss Northern Ireland.