, 20 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
‘A Better Deal’?

If you are looking for a workable alternative to the Protocol on NI/IRL in the #WithdrawalAgreement, & if you are worried about @BorderIrish & @BelfastAgmt, I'm afraid this isn't it.

Here's a thread that is as tight as possible.
First, don’t be fooled by the legalise & jargon.

It cannot be a serious legal text if it assumes that parties can simply “agree not to place physical infrastructure or introduce related checks and controls on the Irish border in any circumstances” (as per para 2).

It is not in the gift of these parties to make such a guarantee without proper consideration of consequences for their international trade partners + responsibilities to their own consumers.

What this proposes in terms of 'Irish border measures' doesn't cut it (more anon.).
And it is esp. hard to take seriously when it seeks to remove from the WA the legal conditions that would enable the removal of checks & controls (ie single customs territory & Single Market) with participation with a “Free Trade Area” to exist until the Future Relationship...
Note the 'New Protocol' proposed here implicitly admits a FTA alone does not enable frictionless movement of goods.

Re: the FTA.
Here 👇is an interesting proviso. How exactly is this 'taking into consideration' to be done? It is the circle that cannot be squared by wishes.
Note to the authors: this has already been done. 👇 

[It is known as the EU Customs Union and the Internal Market]
So, to Art 1 of the sparkly New Protocol...

Oh, hang on!
This is exactly the same as Art.1.4 of the existing #Protocol , i.e. that "not establishing a permanent relationship" and being "intended to be temporary" thing.

What else is the same as existing Protocol?
The functions of the Specialised Committee on NI/IRL & Joint Consultative Working Group are copied & pasted.
+ repetition of language in JR & WA re: “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland”. Notes need for a “unique solution”
This is also pasted from the existing Protocol:
“Noting that nothing in this Protocol prevents the UK from ensuring unfettered market access for goods moving from NI to the rest of the UK's internal market,”

But no reference of mvnt goods from GB to NI?
What else is different from existing #Protocol?

No mention of Irish citizens, North-South cooperation (other than what has accidentally been copied & pasted), or VAT, to name but a few.

& it's not exactly weighty 7 pages compared to 28 (even allowing for double spacing).

Also different: Very odd that this New Protocol gives a less sure status to the Common Travel Area than is in the existing Protocol,
ie. that the parties would use their “best endeavours” to ensure it continues to apply (Art 6.2).
(see the 2 versions)
I wonder why this is.
Other key differences relate to time ⏰
Whereas existing Protocol gives time limit to extension of transition period (max Dec'22), there's no such time limit in 'Better Deal'.
+ it wants both parties to agree to an extension (para 8) but this is a decision for UK gov in WA.
Also- loudly paraded as a critical difference -Art 2.3 in New Protocol gives itself a time limit (10 yrs from end of transition period)
+ says “either Party” may terminate it after that point.
Why 10yrs? Neat enough to sound sure; far enough to assume folk won't care by then?
Also on termination/time limits:
How can the Annex to a Protocol [in this case on Irish Border Measures] still apply if the Protocol is terminated?
Have I missed something??
This New Protocol does not get rid of border controls.
E.g. Art 63 "inspections on veterinary & SPS regulations shall be done at the premises ... or at official border inspection facilities, located in the vicinity of the point of entry into the territory of the other Party."
Also on border controls:
It is worth noting that the more you rely on self-assessment & "periodic" declarations, the greater the need for countervailing measures to minimise the risk of smuggling & fraud.
Esp. so if there is regulatory divergence & separate customs regimes.
Art.69 "The Parties shall apply the following principles to Customs Security Controls & Security-Related Risk Management: (a) Security-related controls other than random checks shall be based on computerised risk analysis."
*random checks?
*Risk analysis = info = burden.
Talking of Security, which is quite important really when it comes to @BorderIrish ...

This is how the Better Deal envisages facilitating customs for movement across UK/EU border after Brexit.
Saved best 'til last.

The 1st articles from Annex on "Irish Border Measures" say:
The promises made+ "existing technologies & systems" avert need for border controls.
BUT that it still requires: new IT systems, customs declarations, technical checks, UCC measures...

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