Until next year. It is the only thing that the negotiators of the United Kingdom, David Frost, and the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, have agreed this Friday during their last conversation of the year on the application of the Northern Ireland protocol, which is unilaterally keeping at half gas London. “The main problem”, say community sources, “is that the EU believes in complying with the international treaties they sign, while the United Kingdom, as demonstrated in this Friday’s statement, does not seem committed in the same way.”
“I urge the UK to reciprocate our steps,” Sefcovic said this Friday, alluding to Brussels’ latest step: a proposal to guarantee the supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as well as Cyprus, Ireland and Malt. The proposal now goes to the Council – the Governments of the 27 – and the European Parliament, with a view to entering into force in January.RELATED
The result of this proposal would be that the pharmaceutical companies of Great Britain, when supplying to the Northern Ireland market – which is the United Kingdom but is within the Community single market -, can retain all their regulatory functions in the place where they are. currently implemented. This means, for example, that Great Britain can continue to act as a supply center for generic medicines for Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Ireland and Malta, even though it is now a third country. This ensures the long-term supply of medicines from Great Britain. This proposal implies that the EU modifies its own rules on medicines.
This means that the same medicines will continue to be available in Northern Ireland at the same time as in the rest of the UK.
Sefcovic also recalled that the negotiations on the Gibraltar fence are also pending. “Hopefully they can be completed in the first quarter of next year,” said Sefcovic.
The British negotiator, David Frost, has said, for his part, once again threatening with the unilateral suspension of the Northern Ireland protocol: “It is disappointing that it was not possible to reach an agreement this year. A solution needs to be found urgently to early next year. As long as there is no negotiated solution, we will remain ready to use the safeguard mechanism in Article 16, if that is the only way to protect the prosperity and stability of Northern Ireland and its people. “
The proposal presented this Friday by Brussels establishes packaging requirements to ensure that medicines authorized by the United Kingdom do not enter the single market, explains the European Commission. The UK must therefore take sole responsibility for authorizing medicines for Northern Ireland, which is dependent on the UK complying with EU legislation on the quality, safety and efficacy of human medicines when issuing market authorizations. for Northern Ireland and thereby reducing risks for the EU single market.
The role of the EU Court of Justice, found in the Northern Ireland protocol signed by Boris Johnson and Brussels, is what the UK continues to discuss. The problem is that as long as Northern Ireland remains in the EU common market, which is governed by EU law, the CJEU has jurisdiction.
“The status of the protocol is the full application of the EU rules on freedom of movement of goods in Northern Ireland,” explain community sources: “You need all the powers of the CJEU, arbitration is not worth it.”
But London deeply regrets what he signed. In his statement on Friday, Frost said: “A governance solution is needed. Neither Northern Ireland nor the UK have a say in how EU law is imposed on Northern Ireland. This remains an issue. of democratic accountability. Nor is it reasonable or fair for disputes between the UK and the EU related to the Protocol to be resolved in the Court of Justice of the EU, the court of one of the parties. The Withdrawal Agreement already provides the use of an independent arbitration mechanism [no para el Protocolo], and the simplest and most durable way forward would be to agree that this should be the only route to resolve disputes in the future. “