EU will "not renegotiate" original post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol
Ursula von der Leyen said the EU won't renegotiate after Boris Johnson asked the EU to consider making "significant changes".
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said that the EU will "not renegotiate" the original post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol.
Following talks between von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, the EU and the UK failed to reach agreement after Johnson called for "significant changes" to be made to the protocol.
Writing on Twitter on Thursday, von der Leyen said: "The EU will continue to be creative and flexible within the protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate.
"We must jointly ensure stability and predictability in Northern Ireland."
In an official readout of the prime minister’s call with Von der Leyen, a Downing Street spokesperson said that the UK believes the current protocol is "unsustainable".
“The prime minister set out that the way the protocol was currently operating was unsustainable. Solutions could not be found through the existing mechanisms of the protocol. That was why we had set out proposals for significant changes to it," the spokesperson said.
“He urged the EU to look at those proposals seriously and work with the UK on them. There is a huge opportunity to find reasonable, practical solutions to the difficulties facing people and businesses in Northern Ireland, and thereby to put the relationship between the UK and the EU on a better footing."
Johnson reportedly made similar points in a call with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, yet again calling for changes to be made to the post-Brexit agreement.
The UK and EU agreed to the Northern Ireland Protocol in 2019, as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The protocol prevents a hard border in Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods.
The UK government has previously said that border checks imposed on goods from Great Britain it signed up to in the Brexit divorce deal had proved to be unworkable, suggesting changes on custom checks, certificates, medicines and the labelling of goods.