• Brexit

Speaking in response to the British government decision to unilaterally extend the supermarket grace period agreed in December, Martin Schirdewan, Co-President of The Left Group in the European Parliament and member of the UK Coordination Group, said:

“The idea of the grace periods agreed in December between Michael Gove and EU Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič was to allow the British government to put in place the systems, and supermarkets and retailers to make the necessary adjustments to their supply chains, required by the Irish Protocol. This has not happened.”

“The very real problems that are being encountered are a consequence of Brexit – not of the Protocol. The Protocol is the only way that could be found to protect the Good Friday Agreement and EU Treaties while respecting the British decision to leave the EU. By refusing to fully implement the Protocol the British are refusing to face up to the reality of what they have decided in leaving the EU and what they agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement.”

“The unilateral decision by the British government to extend the “grace period” for supermarkets can only be interpreted as them hoping to force the European Commission to drop parts of the Protocol and the vital safeguards to consumers that it puts in place.”

“The first meeting of the Joint Committee after the end of the Brexit Transition Period took place on 24 February. Both Co-Chairs acknowledged the importance of joint action to make the Protocol work. That the British government are already going back on what they agreed last week is unfortunately all too familiar an approach from this Conservative government in Britain.”

“We should recall that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement has not yet been ratified by the European Parliament and the full and faithful implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement – including the Irish Protocol – is a prerequisite for the Parliament to give its consent.

“We expect Vice President Šefčovič to make clear that this sort of behaviour by the British government is unacceptable and to get a clear and verifiable commitment from the British government on the timely implementation of the Protocol.”

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