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As for McGuinness' awareness of the A16 provision, she gives some details in the Politico.eu article I quoted above:

A Commission spokesperson, however, said that as part of the emergency procedure to adopt the vaccine export regulation, all commissioners and their cabinets received copies of the text so that they could potentially raise objections. (McGuinness did not immediately respond Sunday night to a message seeking to clarify the sequence of events.)

"It is absolutely true to say that the normal and proper scrutiny didn't happen because what was intended to be a very technical regulation to, if you like, to get information transparency on the flows of vaccines, turned out to contain this very, very sensitive clause about Ireland," McGuinness said.

Sounds like the text in question should have come from the level above the commissioners, VDL and her notoriously secretive cabinet (that's just a guess of course). And since the whole thing was rushed, even McGuinness didn't catch it before publication.

by Bernard on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 12:27:44 PM EST
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Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney's "guesstimate" on RTÉ Radio:

Brussels still hasn't explained Irish border blunder, Dublin says

"In simple terms, you do not touch the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland without full consultation with the people who are most impacted by that, i.e. the Irish government, the British government and, perhaps most importantly, political leaders in Northern Ireland," Coveney said.

"To do anything to undermine the protocol without talking to the Irish government about the consequences of that is a serious mistake. But lessons have been learnt," he said.

When asked how such a fundamental diplomatic mistake could have been sanctioned, Coveney said the EU still hadn't explained what happened.

"I can only make a guesstimate," he said, offering what he considered the most likely scenario.

"Unfortunately what seems to have happened here it that some technical or legal expert pointed to a potential problem, whereby the Northern Ireland protocol could be used to ensure that vaccines could be exported from the EU into Great Britain without any authorization requirement, because the protocol provides unfettered access into Northern Ireland," Coveney said.

"They made a serious political mistake in the direction they took to solve that problem. I don't think this involved a political discussion by commissioners," he added.

by Bernard on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 08:44:30 PM EST
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