FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefkovic speaks during a news conference on Brexit at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 30, 2021. Francisco Seco / Poole via Reuters
September 10, 2021
BELFAST (Reuters) – The European Union has rejected British calls to renegotiate its deal that regulates Northern Ireland’s trading position, saying doing so would only lead to instability and uncertainty.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefkovic, which oversees post-Brexit EU relations with Britain, said in a speech on Friday that the Northern Ireland Protocol needs to be implemented properly and does not cause problems. , but is the only solution.
According to the text of his speech at Queen’s University in Belfast, he said, “Re-negotiating the protocol – as the UK government is suggesting – will mean instability, uncertainty and unpredictability in Northern Ireland.”
Under the protocol, Britain agreed to waive certain EU rules in Northern Ireland and to accept checks on goods arriving from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. London has since said the arrangement is not working and wants it to change.
Sefkovic said the EU is committed to working with the UK to address the difficulties, but any solution can only mitigate the effects of Brexit, not remove them completely, the EU’s single market And given London’s choice to leave the Customs Union.
The Commissioner said that the two sides should continue discussions to limit the impact of the Protocol on everyday life in Northern Ireland while maintaining their exclusive access to the EU’s internal market.
But the focus of these discussions should be on issues that matter most to the Northern Irish people, he said, not British requests such as the removal of the European Court of Justice’s oversight role.
“Doing so would effectively mean cutting off Northern Ireland from the EU Single Market and related opportunities,” he said.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by John Chalmers)