Northern Ireland: Farmer shares Brexit deal change concerns
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Head of Dairy Council Northern Ireland Mike Johnston reacted to UK Government plans to outline powers to unilaterally change the Northern Ireland protocol and claimed farmers are “very worried” about how the European Union could react to the UK move. The changes to the protocol will “obviously add another layer of uncertainty”, he warned and stressed “business doesn’t like uncertainty”. Despite saying that the protocol “could be improved”, he claimed the agreement “is working for us” as it has allowed “[farmers’] trade flows to continue” as before Brexit.
Mr Johnston told Times Radio: “We’re very worried about how the EU might react to this.
“I would hope that the EU would take a very measured response to it.
“I would hope that we wouldn’t see anything that would in any way damage the Good Friday Agreement.
“But what it does do is obviously add another layer of uncertainty here.
“Obviously how the EU will react or what they will do at this stage is very much an unknown quantity.
“Business doesn’t like uncertainty.
“That’s really a major, major concern that we would have as I say, how the EU will react and what the implications of that would be in terms of the outworking of our trade flows and our business models.”
He also added: “Quite simply, the protocol is working for us.
“It is not perfect and there are things that could be improved.
“Bit it is working for us in the sense that it is allowing our trade flows to continue.
“We’ve been able to keep our business going in the same way as we had before Brexit.
“We’ve been supplying our same costumers.
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“And that’s been very, very important to us.
“And so it’s a very, very clear message from us.
“The protocol is working and we don’t want anything done to damage what we already have”.
Following the announcement from Boris Johnson in regards to new plans to scarp some parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, the EU warned the UK that such a move would break “international laws”, resulting in a trade-based retaliation.
Besides the EU, a similar warning came also from Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney who warned the UK Government’s move could lead to a rupture in relations between the UK and EU.
Boris Johnson reacted to the EU warning and claimed a reaction resulting in trade-based retaliation would “be a gross, gross overreaction” from the EU.
He explained the UK move: “All we’re trying to do is to simplify things, to remove the barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
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