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Explainer: Why are Britain and the EU still fighting Brexit?

“Get. Bridget. “It’s done,” was the slogan of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he ran in the election two years ago. Since then, the UK has seceded from the European Union after more than four decades of membership and years of dispute over divorce.

And yet the feud continues: Britain and the European Union are now once again dealing with accusations and insults in 27 countries as they try to mend fences in their relations.

What is the problem?

At the heart of the current controversy. Northern Ireland The only part of the UK that shares a land border with a member of the European Union – Ireland.

Although the UK was part of the EU’s vast trade single market, there were no barriers to people and goods crossing the border. The open border helped advance the peace process that ended Catholics’ decades.Protestant Violence in Northern Ireland because people there, regardless of their identity, are allowed to stay at home in both Ireland and the UK.

By pulling Britain out of the EU’s economic order, Bridget creates new barriers and checks on trade. Both the UK and the EU agreed that such a check could not be carried out on Ireland’s Northern Ireland border because the peace process was in jeopardy.

The alternative was to set up a customs border in the Irish Sea – between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK but the new maritime border has brought headaches and red tape to businesses, and has infuriated Protestant Unionists in Northern Ireland, who say it Weakens Northern Ireland’s space. In Britain and their British identity is under threat.

Why is the UK-EU conflict now erupting?

Problems have been growing since the UK left the EU’s economic embrace at the end of 2020, including the bloc’s single market.

Under the divorce agreement, the British government was required to impose customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

There are specific issues surrounding agricultural and food products – most notably the ban on cold meat products entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK that led to headlines about the “sausage war”. ۔

Opposition to the agreement has grown from Northern Ireland allies. Jeffrey Donaldson, Leader of Northern Ireland. Democratic Unionist Party. “If it is not changed, it will condemn further damage and instability to Northern Ireland,” he said on Tuesday.

Anger over the new arrangements helped fuel several nights of violence in Northern Ireland in April, mostly in Protestant areas, with young people throwing bricks, fireworks and petrol bombs at police.

Because of this, the British government is arguing that the Bridging Treaty itself – the dialogue and consensus between the UK and the EU – is undermining the peace process.

What does the EU say?

The European Union agrees that arrangements in Northern Ireland are not working well. It plans to make proposals on Wednesday to resolve trade issues so that several checks on goods can be waived.

In the wake of this move, the UK stepped up its bid, urging the European Union to remove the European Court of Justice as the final arbiter of the Bridget Treaty and to agree to international arbitration instead.

The European Union is unlikely to accept it. The bloc’s Supreme Court is seen as the EU’s single market peak, and Brussels has vowed not to weaken its own ruling.

Due to the British demand, some in the European Union doubted that Johnson’s government was sincere about sticking to the agreement.

What happens next?

The European Union and the United Kingdom have said they will hold “in-depth” discussions for weeks on the latest proposals.

Negotiations can lead to progress or failure. The signals are mixed. On the one hand, there were moments during Brexit when Britain threatened to leave without an agreement, only at the last minute. It could be another.

But if the British government insists on rejecting the role of the European Court, it is difficult to see the scope for compromise.

In that case, the UK says it will activate an emergency break clause that would allow both sides to suspend the Bridget agreement if it is causing extraordinary difficulties. Such a move would provoke the European Union, which would respond with possible legal action and possibly economic sanctions against Britain.

It could lead to a full-blown trade war – which is likely to hit the UK economy harder than a huge bloc.

Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are threatening to split the Belfast government if no agreement is reached, a move that could trigger elections and plunge the region into new uncertainty.

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Follow the post-Brexit developments AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/Brexit

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