Ireland warns of further breakdown in EU-UK ties

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The European Commission is expected this week to publish its proposals for breaking the deadlock over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that has a land border with the 27-nation bloc…reports Asian Lite News.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on Sunday warned that Britain demands risk of “further breakdown in relations” with the European Union ahead of the post-Brexit talks this week, media reported.

The foreign minister posted the remarks on Twitter after the UK’s Brexit minister reiterated his insistence that the European Court of Justice must not be allowed to oversee implementation of the deal, it was reported.

Coveney described this as a new “red line” that will impede progress in the negotiations. “Does (the UK government) actually want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?” he wrote.

The European Commission is expected this week to publish its proposals for breaking the deadlock over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that has a land border with the 27-nation bloc.

The UK government has sought to renegotiate part of its divorce deal with the EU that requires customs and border checks on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Meanwhile, the European Commission aims to make sure that French fishermen will be issued licenses needed for them to continue to operate in the territorial waters of the UK and France, a Commission spokesperson said as tensions mount between London and Paris over the matter.

“Finding a solution and continuity to the fishing activities of the European fishermen and women remains a top priority,” Xinhua news agency quoted Vivian Loonela, the Commission’s coordinating spokesperson for fisheries matters, as saying.

French fishermen are threatening to block the port city of Calais and the Channel Tunnel to stop exports of goods produced in the European Union (EU) to the UK, thereby “sinking Christmas”, if new fishing licenses are not issued in the next two weeks, according to the British newspaper Daily Mail.

Brexit has deprived several French fishermen of the right to operate in UK territorial waters.

The UK has agreed to grant fishing licenses to boats that can prove past fishing activity in its waters, but too few such licenses have been delivered, according to French fishermen.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex also called on the EU to push for more licenses to be issued, threatening to cancel bilateral agreements between France and the UK.

“The UK has now published its methodology it used to issue licenses and we are discussing with the French, as well as with the British and the Jersey authorities, the differences regarding the rights of the specific boats involved,” Loonela said.

Last week, Loonela pointed out that without knowing how the UK was assessing the applications for fishing licenses, it was hard to tell why some of them had been denied.

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