(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson’s U.K. government called on the European Union to move beyond the disagreements that have characterized the two sides’ post-Brexit relationship, proposing a radical overhaul of disputed trade rules for Northern Ireland.
“We cannot go on as we are,” David Frost, the minister for EU affairs, told the House of Lords on Wednesday. “There has been significant disruption to east-west trade, there has been societal instability.”
He outlined a blueprint for “significant changes” to the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, the part of the U.K.’s divorce agreement with the EU that governs trade and market rules for the region.
To “ensure there is room to negotiate,” Frost called on the bloc to enter a “standstill period,” extending the current grace periods on regulations that allow chilled meats and other goods to be imported into Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K..
He also said the EU should pause its legal action against the U.K. as a “genuine signal of good intent.” Relations so far have been “punctuated by legal challenges and characterized by disagreement and mistrust,” Frost said.
Frost stopped short of invoking Article 16 of the Protocol -- the section which allows the rules to be suspended. He said that the conditions exist to justify invoking it, but now is not the right time to do so.
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