The request of the European Union to postpone the ratification of their post-Brexit trade deal by a month was agreed to by the United Kingdom. This move however added on to the existing uncertainty into what is already a very fragile beginning to the bew relationship between the two sides.
The UK expects that the EU “should be able to satisfy its internal requirements” by the end of April and the UK “would therefore not be asked to further extend the period of provisional application”, said UK’s Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove in a letter to the European Commission earlier this week.
The two sides signed a new agreement that would dictate how their mutual relationship would pan out with respect to trade, security and fisheries on December 24 – just days before the UK officially moved out of the single market and customs union of the EU. The deal had been applied by the Commission provisionally so that there is time till the end of February to scrutinize the deal by the European Parliament which holds the power to veto the Brexit in parts of entirely.
There are some analysts who are concerned that the European lawmakers could threaten to withhold their approval of the Brexit deal because of the growing concerns among the EU about what could be done by the UK to address the issues related to trade with Northern Ireland, even though under normal circumstances the parliamentary vote would be considered as a mere formality.
“We are now 10 weeks into the reality of our new relationship with the United Kingdom,” said Maros Sefcovic, the EU commissioner who is in charge of overseeing the Brexit deal implementation, while talking to 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 U.K. does not replicate or resemble its former membership of the European Union,” Sefcovic said.
One of the most contentious issues in the negotiations between the UK and the EU over Brexit was the trade arrangements for Northern Ireland and since the Brexit process was finalized at the end of 2020, the issue has triggered new disputes.
The government in London is trying to postpone the implementation of full customs checks at the broider with Northern Ireland on medicines, parcels and food supplies to supermarkets until 2023 with delays being faced at the border by goods moving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Signals have already been sent by the Eu of its intention to refuse any such request of postponement.
Gove and the U.K.’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, are held talks on Wednesday with Sefcovic to discuss Northern Ireland.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)