WorldBoris Johnson travels to Northern Ireland, mired in crisis

Boris Johnson travels to Northern Ireland, mired in crisis

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The situation is getting bogged down in Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson is going there on Monday to try to unblock local institutions. The latter are paralyzed against the backdrop of growing tensions between Belfast, London and Brussels over the post-Brexit provisions of this British province.

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Ten days after Republicans Sinn Fein’s historic victory in local elections, Northern Ireland’s institutions have come to a standstill as the Unionists of the DUP refused to participate in the executive, which was supposed to be shared under the agreement. of 1998 which ended three decades of conflict.

A “clear message”

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The unionists, viscerally attached to the union with Great Britain, thus intend to protest against the provisions of the Northern Irish protocol – the agreement signed between London and Brussels to answer the delicate question of the border between British Northern Ireland and the European Republic of Ireland after Brexit – which they say threaten the province’s place within the UK.

According to a statement from Downing Street on Sunday, the British Prime Minister will send a “clear message” to Belfast to the various political formations in the province, namely that “any change to the protocol must result in the meeting of all parties to form an executive and a local assembly.

“Holding society hostage”

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The newly elected Assembly met on Friday for the first time since Sinn Fein, supporters of reunification with the Republic of Ireland, came out on top in local elections on May 5, the first in more than a hundred years of history of the province. But the DUP refused to appoint a president, blocking the Assembly.

Called to become the province’s new First Minister, Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of holding ‘society hostage for the hard Brexit they brought with their friends’ from the Conservative Party of Boris Johnson.

Tensions between London and Brussels

Citing political tensions in the province and disruptions in trade, the British government wants to renegotiate in depth the protocol with the European Union, which says it is only ready for adjustments.

London is threatening unilateral action to override the deal, possibly as early as this week, an unacceptable stance for the EU that could trigger severe trade retaliation. “I hope that the position of the EU will change,” said Boris Johnson in a column published by the Belfast Telegraphotherwise “it will be necessary to act” to protect the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement.

The specter of unilateral decision

On Sunday, British Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng assured Sky News that the United Kingdom had “every right” to want to unilaterally modify the provisions of the protocol.

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“Political stability is our number one priority, and [le DUP] tells us that they will not share power if [le protocole] is not changed. So we have to look carefully at how we can change it,” he said. Northern Irish institutions had already experienced three years of paralysis, against a backdrop of financial scandal, before an agreement allowed their return in January 2020.

Source: 20minutes

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