Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Sunday said a new British law to change part of a Brexit agreement to try to facilitate trade with Northern Ireland was “the worst kind of one-sidedness” and called on the government to resume discussions.
The European Commission launched two new legal actions against Britain this month after London published plans to ignore some post-Brexit rules in the so-called Northern Ireland protocol governing trade with the British province.
London has suggested that some checks on goods from the rest of the UK arriving in Northern Ireland be scrapped, challenging the role of the European Court of Justice in ruling on parts of the post-Brexit agreement on which the EU and Britain agreed.
The new legislation has yet to be approved by parliament, a process that could take some time.
“This is not acceptable, it represents one-sidedness of the worst kind,” Martin told the BBC.
“We fully accept that there are legitimate issues surrounding the operation of the Protocol and we believe that with serious ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the Government of the United Kingdom, these issues can be resolved.”
He said the legislation, which according to London is needed to restore a power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland, would damage the province’s economy by introducing a dual regulatory regime that could increase costs for businesses.
“If this bill is passed, I think we are in a very serious situation,” he said. “What needs to happen now is really substantial negotiations between the British Government and the European Union.”
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