UK gives EU extra time to ratify Brexit trade deal, Politico

  • The British government accepted an EU request for extra time to ratify the Brexit trade deal, after Brussels said it needed two more months to scrutinize it in 24 languages. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove announced the decision Tuesday, saying a delay in ratification was not the U.K.’s “preferred outcome given the uncertainty it creates for individuals and businesses.”
  • In a letter to European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Gove said “extending the period of provisional application prolongs that uncertainty.” He added he hoped this would be enough and that no further extensions would be sought by the EU.
  • Under the terms of the treaty, both sides had to ratify the deal by February 28, when its provisional application is due to expire. But the Commission said on February 10 that it would seek a “technical,” two-month extension.
  • The Commission said extension to April 30 was necessary “to allow the time needed for the completion of the legal-linguistic revision of the Agreement in all 24 languages for its scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council.”
  • Gove said during the period of provisional application, the U.K. does not believe the EU-U.K. Joint Partnership Council and other bodies required in the Brexit trade deal should begin their work formally, except “where there are essential decisions which cannot be deferred.”

Brexit: DUP says NI Protocol could cause political instability, BBC

  • The NI Protocol has “the potential to cause political instability” and the British government must act to remove it, a senior DUP MP has said. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was speaking during a debate in Westminster triggered by a DUP e-petition which received more than 140,000 signatures. The e-petition is part of the DUP’s five-point plan to scrap the protocol.
  • Sir Jeffrey had cited problems with trade experienced by some of his constituents, and said it was the “responsibility of the government to act”. “In this centenary year, we expect the government to act and replace it with arrangements that respect NI’s place in the UK.”
  • But Mr Walker said he believed the issues raised by the DUP could be resolved by adopting a “pragmatic approach” with the EU. The minister also repeated that the government would retain all options, including the potential to trigger Article 16 and override the protocol, if necessary.