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‘No legal or political justification’ for scrapping Northern Ireland Protocol, Simon Coveney and German foreign minister tell Boris Johnson


Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Boris Johnson’s plan to override the Northern Ireland Protocol has “no legal or political justification”, according to the Irish and German governments.

The joint condemnation of the UK’s plan by German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock and her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney writing in the Observer, criticised the UK for risking undermining the “rules based international order”.

MPs voted earlier this week to give the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill a second reading.

It comes after the DUP said it will not nominate ministers to allow a new Stormont Executive to be formed until the UK takes actions on its concerns around the protocol, and how it is impacting on Northern Ireland.

However, the move by the UK has been branded as illegal and a clear breach of international law, with the EU restarting fresh legal action over the matter.

In the statement, the two foreign ministers suggested the EU could have been “flexible and creative” on issues around trade between NI and GB, but argued the UK Government “chose not to engage in good faith with these proposals”.

“Instead of the path of partnership and dialogue, the British government has chosen unilateralism,” they added.

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“There is no legal or political justification for unilaterally breaking an international agreement entered into only two years ago.

“The tabling of legislation this month will not fix the challenges around the protocol. Instead, it will create a new set of uncertainties and make it more challenging to find durable solutions.

“In these difficult times, as Russia is leading a ruthless war in Ukraine, breaking with our European peace order, the EU and UK must stand together as partners with shared values and a commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules-based international order.

“We urge the British government to step back from their unilateral approach and show the same pragmatism and readiness to compromise that the EU has shown.

“By working together – in partnership and with mutual respect – common ground can be found and challenges, no matter how difficult, can be overcome.”

Last week, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that in his political lifetime, he had "never seen relations as bad" with UK ministers as a result of the protocol issue.

"We have a British government that doesn't want to work hand in glove with the Irish government, it's not even handed, it's a government that wants to continue to have rows with the EU even though they've left," he said.

"I think trust needs to be restored, the best way they can do that is by de-escalating this."

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