Brexit: EU rules 'out of the question' for UK says Menon
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European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said it was “definitely not” the bloc’s aim to renegotiate the divorce deal’s protocol to avoid a hard border. It comes ahead of the eurocrat’s first trip to Northern Ireland, where he will meet politicians and stakeholders to discuss the disruption caused by the post-Brexit measures. Mr Sefcovic today told reporters: “Let’s focus on the concrete problem.
“Let’s not try to renegotiate the Protocol, that is definitely not our aim.
“I believe that we can find a good solution to the outstanding issues.”
Mr Sefcovic said he wants to establish from politicians, business people and civil society what the concrete problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol are.
He argued that the Irish Sea border had been caused by the hard Brexit pursued by Boris Johnson’s Government.
But he believes there was enough creativity and goodwill to end the disruption in the region.
Brexit minister Lord Frost wants to completely overhaul the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol to eliminate any customs controls ordered by Brussels.
Whereas the EU Commission believes that the treaty already contains enough flexibilities in order to minimise the disruption to trade in the region.
To avoid a hard border, Northern Ireland effectively remains in the EU’s single market for goods, with trade checks on some goods crossing from Great Britain.
The implementation of a number of these controls were delayed indefinitely earlier this week to give both sides space to negotiate a long-term solution to end the disputes over the Protocol.
This means that the flow of products to Northern Irish supermarkets will not be challenged by Brussels.
And it puts an end to the so-called “sausage war” by postponing a ban on the sale of British-made sausages and burgers in the area.
Lord Frost said the standstill would provide “certainty and stability” to Northern Irish businesses, which had warned of significant trade disruptions if the grace periods had been allowed to expire.
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He said: “To provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the government will continue to operate the protocol on the current basis.
“This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force. Operational and other guidance will be updated to reflect this approach. We will ensure that reasonable notice is provided in the event that these arrangements were to change, to enable businesses and citizens to prepare.”
Prime Minister Mr Johnson today reiterated his Government’s stance on renegotiating the Protocol.
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He told MPs that the measures, as it was being applied, was not protecting the Good Friday peace agreement.
“We must sort it out,” he said.
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