There may be a silver lining in von der Leyen’s appalling blunder

Pragmatics of NI protocol forced to top of political agenda in Brussels and London

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen: Her  protocol screw-up indicates Irish concerns can be pushed to one side when the struggle between great powers becomes intense. Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen: Her protocol screw-up indicates Irish concerns can be pushed to one side when the struggle between great powers becomes intense. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s appalling blunder in attempting to override the Northern Ireland protocol last weekend may yet turn out for the best if it focuses attention in Brussels and London on smoothing out the difficulties that have emerged in the operation of the protocol.

Even before last weekend’s debacle, the protocol has become a serious political issue as it was not simply causing difficulties for business and consumers in Northern Ireland but had prompted an escalation of tension in loyalist circles which was causing serious worry to senior police officers.

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