Troubled Boris Johnson on a visit to Northern Ireland

The situation in Northern Ireland is going from bad to worse. Boris Johnson is going there on Monday to try to unblock local institutions. The latter are paralyzed against a backdrop of rising tensions between Belfast, London and Brussels over the post-Brexit provisions of this British province.

Ten days after Republican Sinn Féin’s historic victory in local elections, the institutions of Northern Ireland have come to a standstill as the federalists of the DUP refused to participate in the executive, which was to be shared under the 1998 agreement. confrontation.

a “clear message”

The Federalists, having joined the Union with Great Britain, thus intended to oppose the provisions of the Northern Irish Protocol – the agreement between London and Brussels to answer the delicate question of the boundary between British Northern Ireland and the European Republic of Ireland. The agreement signed between the post-Brexit – which they say threatens the province’s place within the UK.

According to a Downing Street statement on Sunday, the British prime minister will send Belfast a “clear message” to the various political formations in the province, namely that “any change in protocol must result in a meeting of all parties. One executive and one local.” assembly.

“Holding Society”

The newly-elected assembly met on Friday for the first time since Sinn Féin, a supporter of reunification with the Republic of Ireland, came out on top in local elections on May 5, the first time in the province’s more than a hundred-year history. But the DUP refused to appoint a speaker, blocking the assembly.

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Called to be the province’s new First Minister, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘holding society hostage to the difficult Brexit brought with her friends’ from Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Tension between London and Brussels

Citing political tensions and trade disruptions in the province, the British government is looking to deeply renegotiate the protocol with the European Union, which it says is only open to adjustments.

London is threatening unilateral action to scrap the deal, possibly earlier this week, an unacceptable stance for the EU that could trigger serious trade retaliation. “I hope the position of the European Union will change,” Boris Johnson published in a column Belfast TelegraphOtherwise “it will be necessary to act” to protect the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

unilateral judgment

On Sunday, British Energy Minister Quasi Quarteng assured Sky News that the United Kingdom had “absolute authority” to unilaterally modify the provisions of the protocol.

“Political stability is our first priority, and [le DUP] tells us they won’t share power if [le protocole] is not modified. So we have to watch carefully how we can change that.” Northern Irish institutions had already experienced three years of paralysis against the backdrop of a financial scandal, before a settlement was allowed in January 2020.

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