London / Berlin foreign minister Annalena Bärbock has called on the British government to back down in the dispute with the EU over Brexit rules for Northern Ireland. “I believe that there is a window of opportunity for a pragmatic solution right now,” said Baerbock in a video message recorded on the government plane to the so-called Königswinter conference of the German-British society in London. The Green politician called on London to implement the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol and to respond to “the pragmatic EU proposal that is on the table”.
The dispute between Brussels and London over the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol is currently paralyzing the formation of a government in the British part of the country. The protocol is part of the Brexit treaty concluded at the end of 2019 and is intended to ensure that despite the British exit from the EU between Northern Ireland and the EU member Republic of Ireland, no border controls will be necessary. This is to prevent parts of the mainly Catholic advocates of unification with Ireland from taking up arms again in the former civil war region.
Instead, however, a goods border has now emerged between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, which is opposed by parts of the population.
In her message, Baerbock also praised Britain’s cooperation with Germany and other Western partners in the face of the Ukraine war. They have moved closer together and together defend values such as freedom and democracy. This also shows that the similarities are greater than the differences. “Let’s build on this cohesion,” appealed the minister.
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At the airport in the Irish capital, Baerbock and her delegation had to wait four and a half hours for departure on Friday after the onset of winter because the government Airbus had to be de-iced. So in the evening we went directly back to Berlin instead of London.
Ice and snow have now prevented her from standing on the stage with her counterpart in London, said Baerbock regretfully in her message. The relationship between Germany and Great Britain however, is by no means “chilly”. Rather, they want to strengthen the partnership and sign an agreement for closer civil society exchange between the two countries as soon as possible. This should actually have taken place on Friday.
Baerbock’s visit to London has been postponed for the third time: the first appointment fell victim to the British government crisis surrounding the resignation of then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the summer. The strategy dialogue had to be postponed a second time due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.