‘No ifs, no buts!’ says a furious German industry boss in a Brexit ultimatum to the UK.
A German industry leader has told Britain it must follow the rules of the Brexit deal with the EU, saying Boris Johnson “cannot refuse” to act in accordance with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
And, according to Joachim Lang, Managing Director of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), if no agreement is reached, both parties will be subjected to rising tariffs and other unspecified penalties. Mr Lang was speaking after European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic announced a number of important agreements, including a reduction of 80 percent in the number of checks and restrictions that apply to goods entering Northern Ireland.
Significant obstacles remain, given Mr Sefcovic’s dismissal of Brexit Minister Lord David Frost’s proposal for the EU to abolish the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) involvement in resolving disputes over the Protocol, the mechanism previously agreed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“Neither the British nor the EU are authorized to shake the treaty,” Mr Lang said.
“Without any ifs or buts, all sides must honor their commitments.”
“In order for mutual investments to continue to be successful in the future, stability is required in the new relationship.”
“The British Government cannot refuse to play a positive role in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol,” he continued.
“Otherwise, everyone involved will have to worry about tariff spirals and other trade policy remedies.”
Mr Lang underlined that the UK had a “responsibility” to make progress in implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Reliability is critical to deepening cooperation in key areas of economic policy,” he added.
Green transformation, digitalisation, and research and development are among them.”
On Thursday, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic stated that the Northern Ireland Protocol will not be renegotiated.
The UK government applauded the EU’s offer of fewer inspections on Wednesday, indicating that it wants “intense talks” to follow the EU’s proposals.
At the same time, a Government spokeswoman stressed that a “durable settlement” requires “major revisions” to the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
On Friday, Lord Frost is scheduled to meet with Mr. Sefcovic in Brussels to seek ways to overcome the impasse.
Mr Sefcovic said he had no mandate to revise the agreement after conversations with Northern Ireland’s political leaders.
“Now we should really go the extra mile, engage constructively with all of the solutions we placed on the table,” he told the BBC “..