Germany: Ease Restrictions on Russia Shipping Goods to Kaliningrad, Toughen Restrictions on Britain Shipping Goods to Belfast

Yesterday’s Observer carried a nose-butting op-ed from Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s minister for foreign affairs, who in a joint byline with Simon Coveney slammed the UK government’s “unilateral” plans to change the Northern Ireland protocol and threaten the “rules-based international order”. According to the German government, there is “no legal or political justification” for the government’s proposal to de-restrict goods shipping between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. “We urge the British government to step back from their unilateral approach and show the same pragmatism and readiness to compromise that the EU has shown,” they say…

The UK government will be rightfully outraged at this hypocritical de haut en bas attitude from the German government. While their foreign minister is telling the UK to accept a border within the UK, five days ago president Olaf Sholz sought to cool tensions in the Baltics by urging Lithuania and the EU to lift restrictions on freight going from Russia to their Kaliningrad exclave, arguing war crime-committing Russia should be able to move goods freely through the EU single market because it’s all part of their country. If only Germany relied on Great Britain for swathes of their gas…

To compound the outrage, Annalena Baerbock’s op-ed went on to cite the Ukraine war as a reason against the UK’s unilateral move against the Northern Ireland protocol:

“In these difficult times, as Russia is leading a ruthless war in Ukraine, breaking with our European peace order, the EU and UK must stand together as partners with shared values and a commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules-based international order.”

If Germany is demanding the UK “show the same pragmatism and readiness to compromise the EU has shown”, perhaps they should be consistent in countenancing facilitations of moving goods around the continent for both Great Britain and Russia. Germany seems keener to appease Russia’s desire to export weapons to Kaliningrad than Britain’s desire to export sausages to Northern Ireland…

mdi-tag-outline EU Negotiations Northern Ireland
mdi-account-multiple-outline Annalena Baerbock Olaf Scholz
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