The government is rewriting history and risking our future

Published on July 22, 2021

With its foolhardy approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol and the issues surrounding it, the UK government is re-writing history and risking our future, writes European Movement CEO Anna Bird.

Yesterday, the government caused yet another impasse in the UK’s relationship with the EU. Their so-called "new approach" to the Northern Ireland Protocol rewrites history and risks a full-blown crisis. 

Instead of working closely with our EU neighbours to make the Protocol work for people in Northern Ireland, they have acted unilaterally and damaged our international reputation. 

They call their paper a "new way forward", but in truth it rehashes old arguments and re-heats the same tired proposals. 

Instead of sitting down with the EU to make the Protocol work, they have destabilised it at every turn. Their proposed changes to the Protocol are almost identical to the failed 2019 proposals for a 'light-touch' customs arrangement. They even said they could invoke Article 16 of the Protocol and abandon it altogether, if they don’t get their way. 

The EU has already responded, saying that it is committed to working with the Protocol and will not re-negotiate it. The government’s actions could drag the UK into a full-blown crisis. 

This needs to stop before it’s too late. And there is a genuine way forward. 

An agreement on veterinary and SPS standards with the EU would resolve the worst of the Protocol’s problems, eliminate most border checks, and relieve tensions. This is exactly what the European Movement is calling for. 

All the major opposition parties in parliament now support European Movement calls to negotiate a comprehensive veterinary and SPS agreement with the EU. But by itself that's not enough. We need to get MPs who do support us to start saying so loud and clear. And we need to make Conservative MPs take note. 

We are asking our members and supporters like you to write to their MP, and tell them to support a pragmatic veterinary agreement with the EU, to resolve tensions, and make life better for people in Northern Ireland.

By writing to them today you will help them realise that speaking out loudly on this issue will pay off with their constituents and they should keep it up.

If you have not already done so, please take just two minutes to write to your MP about the campaign by clicking here.

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