Protocol agreement progressing, but difficulties remain, EU says

Progress has been made towards agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol, but difficulties remain, the EU’s chief negotiator said.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sevkovic said Brussels would “sparse efforts” to reach a settlement with the UK on a controversial post-Brexit trade deal.

When Sevkovic made his comments in Brussels, the UK government made it clear that “significant work” was still needed before a deal could be reached.

The updates from both sides come amid growing speculation about an impending deal to cut bureaucracy in moving goods between the UK and Northern Ireland.

Sefkovic said at a press conference in Brussels that “intensive investigations” were continuing to find a joint solution.

“The European Commission and the UK government are working closely and constructively. Progress has been made, but challenges remain,” he said.

“president [Ursula] Von der Leyen has a relationship of trust with the British prime minister [Rishi] snack.

“And the same applies to my relationship. [British] Foreign Secretary James Cleverley and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris.

“We agree that collective solutions are needed to address the real concerns of all Northern Ireland communities.

“Overall, this is not an easy task, but it is certainly a necessary one, and the Commission will spare no effort in agreeing a joint way forward.”

A billboard protesting the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Port of Larne. Photo: PA

A Downing Street spokesman said the breakthrough was achieved by reducing checks on UK goods whose final destination is Northern Ireland and distinguishing them from UK goods destined to cross the Irish border into the EU. He declined to comment on the latest reports that he had been

He added: “There is still important work to be done and further discussions will take place on all fronts this week.”

The protocol was agreed by the UK and the EU in 2019 and was adopted as a way to resolve the impasse over securing a Brexit withdrawal deal.

Designed as a means of maintaining the free flow of borders, the treaty moved the regulation and customs inspection of goods to the Irish Sea, creating an economic barrier to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Many unionists in the north are vehemently opposed to the deal, which they say has weakened the region’s standing within the union.

The DUP has now blocked the ability to share power in Stormont and has clarified that it will not allow delegation unless major changes are made to the protocol.

The deal between the EU and the UK does not guarantee the restoration of Northern Ireland’s devolution, as the DUP may eventually reject it and continue to boycott Stormt.

The DUP has made it clear that we need to go beyond just reducing trade bureaucracy in any deal.

The party says Northern Ireland will no longer be subject to EU law or the oversight of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

DUP MP Ian Paisley said any agreement between the UK and the EU must address the ECJ’s role as final arbitrator in Protocol-related trade disputes.

He told the BBC Nolan Show that the protocol must be replaced by an arrangement that union members can support.

“Until this protocol is replaced and the Irish Sea border is removed, I believe we will be subject only to British rule and there will be no sharing of power,” he said.


EU ‘desired to address’ union activists’ concerns over N…

“It’s either protocol or power sharing. You can’t have both.

“The sooner the European courts deal with important issues, the less Northern Ireland can be held accountable and accountable for its lack of a say.” Protocol agreement progressing, but difficulties remain, EU says

Show More
Back to top button