The European Union and the United Kingdom negotiations have hit a new deadlock over the United Kingdom’s Internal Market Bill- an attempt to ensure free trade within the UK constituents of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And the Democrats are now openly backing for the European Union, with the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi openly threatening to torpedo a US-UK trade deal if London doesn’t abide by the Northern Island Protocol and “imperils,” the Good Friday Agreement.
A US-UK trade deal would be a big win for the US President Donald Trump and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while the EU would come out looking like a sore loser. But Pelosi’s threat to block a US-UK trade deal shows that the Democrats are looking to play spoilsport to embarrass Trump, let Boris down and help the European Union.
Pelosi, who is already drawing a lot of flak for her private visit to a San Fransisco hair salon in violation of local regulations, has now said, “Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the stability brought by the invisible and frictionless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.” She added, “The U.K. must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border.”
According to Pelosi, there would be “no chance” of a US-UK trade deal if the UK goes against the Northern Ireland Protocol that forms a part of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, also known as Brexit.
With this, Pelosi is virtually announcing that the Democrats are going to back the EU, no matter how crucial a US-UK trade deal maybe to American interests. The UK move to deviate from the Northern Ireland Protocol has come as a shocker of sorts to the Brussels-based European Union. The Protocol was supposed to avoid an evident border between Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, which is a part of the EU.
Therefore, the Northern Ireland Protocol meant that Northern Ireland would have remained a part of the single-market EU sharing a seamless border with the Republic of Ireland. This arrangement was supposed to continue until the UK and EU reached a trade deal among themselves.
Now, according to BBC, the Internal Market Bill gives the UK Ministers powers to modify or “disapply” rules relating to the movement of goods in Northern Ireland that will come into force from January 1, unless the UK and the EU can reach a trade deal.
The EU and the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi are using the same argument against London over the Internal Market Bill that it undermines the Good Friday Agreement. Also known as the Belfast Agreement, the Good Friday Agreement was an accord that ended the Troubles- a phase of violence between the Unionists and Nationalists in Northern Ireland.
Since Northern Ireland separated from the Republic of Ireland in 1920s- the Unionists who wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of the UK, and Nationalists who wanted to leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland, remained at loggerheads with each other. Pelosi and the EU claim that the Northern Ireland Protocol upholds the Good Friday Agreement by retaining a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
However, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected charges of undermining the Good Friday Agreement. He has said that the latest Bill is supposed to protect the Good Friday Agreements from “extreme” interpretations by Brussels. “My job is to uphold the integrity of the UK, but also to protect the Northern Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement,” the UK Prime Minister told the House of Commons.
He added, “To do that, we need a legal safety net to protect our country against extreme or irrational interpretations of the protocol which could lead to a border down the Irish Sea in a way that I believe, and I think members around the House believe, would be prejudicial to the interests of the Good Friday Agreement and prejudicial to the interests of peace in our country.”
For the UK, the Internal Market Bill is a matter of the country’s integrity and avoiding rigid interpretations of the Northern Ireland Protocol that could end up creating an economic border within the UK by imposing checks on some goods flowing between the Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
On the other hand, the Bill would be a major setback for the EU, which is already losing the free trade deals race against the UK. The UK has already signed a free trade deal with Japan and is now also looking to sign trade deals with India and the US.
The Republicans in the US have been bullish about a US-UK Free Trade Agreement. But now, Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, who credit former US President Bill Clinton for the Good Friday Agreement, are fully prepared to play spoilsport. The Democrats don’t want the UK and US to gain an advantage over the EU, therefore they are opposing a US-UK trade deal and the hair salon girl Nancy Pelosi is leading the fight.