EU warns UK that removing European court’s oversight would cut Northern Ireland off from bloc’s single market

The European Commission issued a warning to the UK on Monday that proceeding with planned “significant” changes to the Brexit withdrawal agreement would risk “cutting Northern Ireland off from the EU’s single market.”

Speaking at a press conference, a spokesperson for the European Commission criticized the UK government for continuing to push for the removal of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from its oversight role over the post-Brexit relationship between the two sides.

The spokesperson urged the UK to focus on “those issues that matter the most,” rather than “removing the role of the ECJ,” warning that doing so “would effectively mean cutting Northern Ireland off from the EU’s single market and related opportunities.”

The statement from the EU representative comes after Britain’s Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost released remarks, set to be given at a speech in Portugal on Tuesday, where he called for “significant” changes to the withdrawal agreement.

“Without new arrangements in this area, the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive,” Lord Frost stated, citing the removal of the ECJ as one of the matters that must be resolved, despite the EU previously refusing to cede ground on the issue.

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Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, joined the criticism of the UK’s planned actions, suggesting that they are getting to a point where the EU is close to stating that it “cannot compromise any more” over post-Brexit arrangements. 

Addressing RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’, Coveney criticized Frost’s strategy, suggesting that, “over and over again,” he just asked the EU to concede more ground and compromise further, rather than presenting serious proposals. “The EU tries to solve these problems and the UK dismisses the solutions before they’re published,” Coveney stated.

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