The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen , rejected Boris Johnson's decision to renegotiate the Northern Irish Protocol, raising the temperature of a Brexit dispute.
"The EU will continue to be cresponsive and flexible within the framework of the protocol. But we will not renegotiate, ”she said after a call with the prime minister on Thursday.
European sources said the call lasted around 30 minutes, and Von der Leyen made it clear that they spoke at Johnson's request.
While this is not a surprise, his refusal - less than 24 hours after the government established a plan to renegotiate an essential part of the Brexit deal - is a blow hard for Johnson, who repeatedly said there would be no customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The EU s 'is united against the plBritish year to rewrite the Northern Ireland Protocol, a hotly contested deal with Johnson in 2019 that created a customs in the Irish Sea.
In an official reading of the Prime Minister 's appeal with Von der Leyen, a Downing Street spokesperson reiterated the UK government's case for renegotiation. “The Prime Minister said the way the protocol is currently working is not sustainable. No solution could be found through the existing mechanisms of the protocol. This is why we had made some important modification proposals.
"He urged the EU to seriously consider these proposals and work with the Kingdom - United on them. There is a huge opportunity to find reasonable and practical solutions to the difficulties faced by people and businesses in Northern Ireland , and so put the relation between the UK and the EU on a better basis. They agreed to keep in touch. "
The Prime Minister made the same remarks in a separate appeal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Johnson's spokesman said the PM "did not expect the EU to take such a purist and maximalist approach " "for the implementation of the protocol, but could not report any violation of the agreement by Brussels.
" There are real issues that people are facing on the ground in Northern Ireland which need to be resolved, "the spokesperson said, adding that the government has launched a consultation aimed at " slash Brexit paperwork ".
Johnson's spokesman said the PM did not want the protocol abandoned" at this time. "
Attempt to renegotiate the UK Uni this has infuriated EU policymakers, who have already proposed changes to reduce impact on citizens of Northern Ireland. Further adjustments are possible, but the 'EU has ruled out full-scale renegotiation.
In an unusually blunt statement, a German government spokesperson tweeted: "Is this too much? 'expect the [UK] to maintain what it has negotiated, signed and ratified. "
An EU di plomat said that Brexit Minister David Frost had produced "a statementhalf-baked ition "with difficult concepts. Lord Frost's suggestion that traders should be trusted to move goods between Britain and Northern Ireland with minimal oversight is opposed by Brussels, who thinks such a regime could be exploited by smugglers and companies playing fast and freely with two sets of rules.
The goal of wresting the European Court of Justice from the protocol has also fallen on rocky ground. EU sources argue that Frost incorrectly characterized the role of the court in the protocol, exaggerating its importance.
The protocol emphasizes that the court is solely responsible for ruling on questions of law, a point officials say is a cornerstone of the EU legal order that cannot be modified.
The agreement also allows the gouBritish government to be sued before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), with the target a legal case already filed by Brussels for alleged violations.
British sources believe that the ECJ is unusual in such an international treaty and fear that the government's room for maneuver may be reduced by what is considered to be the extreme rigidity of the European system.
Talks will continue between the two sides. "It would be a mistake to dismiss political concerns, just because [the UK] endorsed them," the diplomat said, "although many concerns have been known from the start.