EU 'unwilling' to resolve Northern Ireland issue says MP
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Refrigerators, televisions and other white goods sold in the region will be made to comply with Brussels regulations. Under the terms of the Brexit divorce deal, Northern Ireland is made to follow single market rules to prevent a hard border. The Union flag is not allowed to be displayed on EU-wide Ecodesign energy labels that are required as part of the bloc’s rules on electronic goods.
Instead, the EU flag will be displayed on goods that must follow EU energy labelling rules as part of the Brexit deal’s Northern Ireland protocol.
The treaty means the newly-announced Government energy efficiently labels, which feature the Union flag, will not be allowed to be used in the region.
The post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland means the region must follow a number of EU laws on goods, food and animal health.
Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesman, said the labelling farce was another example of how the Northern Ireland Protocol was driving a wedge between the region and mainland Britain.
He told the Telegraph: “The very fact it will be an EU flag, although we’ve supposedly left the EU is an illustration of how we’re now treated differently.”
He added: “Why are we going to finish up with a situation where everyone who buys a washing machine or a fridge will now find themselves buying something which is designed to meet the EU requirements, rather than the UK’s regulations?”
Britain has announced new “right to repair” rules, which mean manufacturers must provide spare parts for up to 10 years, provide repair guidance and make goods easy to disassemble and recycle.
The new legislation is the same as EU regulations, meaning suppliers in Great Britain will be able to supply Northern Irish firms with products meeting EU standards.
Had Downing Street opted to diverge from the bloc’s rulebook, business owners in Northern Ireland would have been forced to source EU approved appliances.
No 10 recently infuriated Brussels by announcing plans to unilaterally extend grace periods for EU red tape on Northern Ireland.
The Government wants to delay the implementation on some food checks for six months to protect vital supermarket supply chains.
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But eurocrats has argued this is a breach of the protocol and are planning legal action against Britain.
Mr Wilson said: “What we need to do is ensure that EU legislation no longer applies to Northern Ireland, except where we are exporting goods to the EU and we have to abide by their regulations, just as we have to with the US.”
He also argued that recent Treasury changes to fuel rules for recreational boat owners – who can now use cheaper red diesel – will also not be allowed in Northern Ireland.
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Boat owners in Scotland, Wales or England will be able to take advantage of the changes because they are not tied to EU rules.
The Government said Northern Ireland would continue to follow EU rules as part of the Protocol.
But a spokesman insisted the arrangements are a “unique solution” to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the country’s “integral place” within the UK.
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