On 29 July the House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland published an introductory report. The report exposes flaws in the approach taken with Northern Ireland Protocol by both the UK Government and the EU.
On the part of the UK, a lack of clarity and transparency about what the implications of the protocol would be are identified as a flaw. The lack of readiness from the UK government which undermined business preparedness is also a key element. The report also indicates that the EU lacked balance and flexibility in its approach to the Protocol and lacked understanding of the political sensitivities in Northern Ireland. As a result, there is a clear lack of trust between the UK and the EU over the matter.
The report documents the economic disruption and political instability in Northern Ireland that implementation of the Protocol has contributed to. The late in the day approach to defining how the Protocol would operate are considered to be destabilizing for Northern Ireland businesses and citizens, and moreover the report finds that both Brexit and the Protocol have reopened questions about bore and identity in Northern Ireland.
The committee finds that the lack of trust between the UK and EU has hampered the ability of both sides to find resolutions to the problems created by the protocol. The report calls on the UK and EU to urgently resolve their differences and make progress in this area.
The report gives extensive review of how the sub-committee first came about, how the protocol developed and where it is today. Over six chapters the report takes account of economic impacts as well as political and social impacts, and leans on evidence sessions and written evidence provided to the committee since its inception and offers a series of mitigations and solutions.
There is no explicit mention of the impacts of the protocol on the aerospace or defence sector in the report. However, ADS and Northern Ireland members have met frequently with UK Government to detail the day-to-day impacts and cost implications that the protocol is having on our sectors and continue to write to and engage with Government regularly on these issues.
ADS members should look to read over the mitigations and solutions element of the report as there are many recommendations detailed that would benefit businesses who operate in or trade with Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The overriding conclusion of the report is that, despite everything that has been said, the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol has created economic disruption and further political division, which has contributed to community unrest. As a result, any potential benefits that Northern Ireland should have seen as part of dual access to EU and UK markets, have not been realised.
The report concludes that dialogue between all sides needs to progress in order to repair damage that has been caused by the protocol and resolution should be sought.
ADS continues to update our Brexit Hub with new information of relevance to members on the topic of the Norther Ireland Protocol.