EU claims Sunak’s Brexit deal benefits bloc in key areas

Dominic Raab gives update on Brexit

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The EU will retain a series of advantages on trade with the UK despite Rishi Sunak’s success in signing a deal allegedly solving the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol stalemate. The Prime Minister has insisted that his new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland addressed the concerns of unionists despite the “small and limited” role for European Union law.

The Prime Minister, who was visiting Northern Ireland to sell the deal secured with the European Union, said he believed “hand on heart” that it addressed the concerns expressed about the current post-Brexit trading arrangements which triggered the collapse of powersharing in Stormont.

But according to the EU’s own words, the deal is merely a “political agreement in principle”.

In practice, the deal will see EU law continuing to apply in a sovereign part of the UK.

READ MORE: Brexit deal LIVE – Sunak quietly dropped ‘nuclear option’

On Customs:

Physical checks on goods and products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will still be demanded.

According to the EU’s own documents, published on Monday, “goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are destined for the EU or at risk of entering the EU will be subject to full customs checks and controls”.

They added: “Freight: Goods not at risk of entering the EU will benefit from an unprecedented reduction, although not a full eradication, of customs requirements for traders moving goods by direct transport from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.”

Traders will be required to apply for the “trusted traders” status.

And parcels will only be allowed to move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland if shipped by “Authorised Carriers”.

As the EU will have access to UK customs databases and IT systems, it will be able to order “UK customs officials to stop and check the goods if risks are detected”.

On food and supermarkets:

The EU is demanding expensive product labelling requirements that will see many companies unable to supply Northern Ireland.

The Brussels executive’s text reads: “‘Not for EU’ labelling is a very important safeguard to protect the EU Single Market. The Commission and the UK government have agreed on requirements for the labelling of agri-food retail goods at different levels: individual, box, shelf signs and posters.”

They added: “There is no dual regulatory regime. While UK public health standards will apply to goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, EU requirements for animal health and plant health remain fully in place.”

Commons erupts at Sunak’s swipe at Boris and Truss [VIDEO]
Boris Johnson sends warning to DUP over new Brexit deal [INSIGHT]
Russia reeling after ‘unexplained explosions’ hit ammo and fuel dumps [ANALYSIS]

On medicines:

Medicines will also need to present a special label if shipped between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Commission’s document says: “Individual packs of all medicines placed on the Northern Ireland market should thus bear a label indicating “UK only”…and the Commission will be able to unilaterally suspend the new rules in case the UK does not comply with its obligations.”

On VAT and Excise:

The UK will be prevented from applying the same VAT in Northern Ireland as in the rest of Great Britain for specific products such as alcohol, as this will have to be no lower than the EU’s minimum.

The Commission wrote: “The Commission and the UK government have agreed that the UK may be able to tax all alcoholic beverages based on their alcoholic strength in Northern Ireland … The UK will not be able to apply any duty rate below the EU minima.” “… small producers of alcoholic beverages in Northern Ireland will not benefit from mutual recognition procedures provided by EU law and the UK will not be able to set duty rates for small producers below EU minima rates.”

In general terms, the EU established that all VAT solutions opted for by the UK, “cannot negatively affect the EU Single Market”.

On governance:

The framework removes the Northern Ireland Protocol’s barriers on trade across the Irish Sea and hands a “veto” to politicians in Stormont on EU law, so-called Stromont Brake – a set of concessions from Brussels that went further than some expected.

But it still includes a role for the European Court of Justice, with the DUP and Tory backbenchers set to study the details of the complex set of arrangements in the coming days.

In the EU’s own wording: “The Stormont Brake can be triggered only after having used every other available mechanism…”

They added: “If the Parties cannot agree either to add an amended or replacing act or to other measures to ensure the proper functioning of the Protocol, the EU can take appropriate remedial measures, as is the case under Article 13(4) of the Protocol.”

On State Aid:

The new deal does not change previous stipulated agreements on the principles for State Aid rules in Northern Ireland.

In fact, it is EU State Aid rules that will continue to apply to the region.

The EU said: “The Joint Declaration neither modifies the substance of Article 10(1) nor restricts its application.

“This Joint Declaration … therefore does not carve out any subsidies that previously fell within the scope of Article 10(1).”

EU infringement proceedings:

The UK is currently the subject of seven EU infringement proceedings, all of which will only be dropped by Brussels if Britain complies to all the above demands.

Mr Sunak told BBC Radio 4’s Today that the role of EU law was for single market measures aimed at avoiding the need for a hard border with Ireland.

He said: “In practical terms, something that is important to people in Northern Ireland is not having a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, I think that’s important to everybody in fact, but also it’s important for businesses to have access to the EU single market.

“As long as the people of Northern Ireland consent to that arrangement, then that’s why there is a small and limited role for EU law in Northern Ireland – what we are talking about is less than 3 percent of EU laws that apply in Northern Ireland and they apply very specifically for the purpose that I just mentioned.”

The Stormont brake means that “if there’s a new law that’s going to significantly impact people’s lives coming from the EU, they will be able to block it”.

Mr Sunak also said that border posts for checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea were mainly aimed at consignments destined for Ireland and the EU – the so-called “red lane”.

“The border posts are there very specifically for the red lane. Because as part of having a green lane, where goods flow freely within our UK internal market, if goods are actually going to the Republic of Ireland, ie going into the EU, well, that’s not our country and it’s entirely reasonable, that we have checks for those types of goods.

“And we also check when we suspect criminality or smuggling. And that’s something that the Government’s always said that it would do and has been long-standing practice, actually.”

In the green channel, for goods remaining in the UK, “there won’t be routine checks” but “there will be checks where we suspect criminality or smuggling”.

Source: Read Full Article