The German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock attacked the UK government’s “unilateral” ambitions to alter the Northern Ireland protocol and threatened the “rules-based international order” in an opinion piece that appeared in yesterday’s issue of the Observer.
The German government claims that the government’s plan to ease restrictions on commodities transportation between Northern Ireland and Great Britain has “no legal or political validity.” The British government is urged to abandon its unilateral approach and exhibit the same pragmatism and willingness to reach a solution as the EU, the group claims.
The German government’s hypocritical “de haut en bas” attitude will infuriate the UK government, and with good reason. While their foreign minister is advising the UK to accept a border within the UK, five days ago, president Olaf Sholz sought to defuse tensions in the Baltics by pleading with Lithuania and the EU to remove restrictions on cargo travelling from Russia to their Kaliningrad exclave. He claimed that since Russia commits war crimes, it should be allowed to move goods freely through the EU single market because it is all a part of their nation. If only a large portion of Germany’s gas needs were met by Great Britain…
To add insult to injury, Annalena Baerbock’s opinion piece further justified the UK’s unilateral action against the Northern Ireland convention by referencing the conflict in Ukraine:
“The EU and UK must stand together as allies with shared values and a resolve to defend and strengthen the rules-based international order in these challenging times, as Russia is leading a merciless conflict in Ukraine and breaking with our European peace order,” the EU said.
If Germany wants the UK to “demonstrate the same pragmatism and willingness to compromise the EU has demonstrated,” then perhaps they ought to support the liberalisation of trade on the continent for both Russia and Great Britain.
In comparison to Britain’s ambition to send sausages to Northern Ireland, Germany appears more eager to satisfy Russia’s demand to export armaments to Kaliningrad.