EU To  Present Counter Proposals To Address Row About Northern Ireland

EU To Present Counter Proposals To Address Row About Northern Ireland

By Ben Kerrigan-

The EU is to set out proposals later to address the row about trade in Northern Ireland.

The proposals come shortly after the UK agreed change the deal struck as part of the Brexit process to allow goods to circulate more freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president, has promised “very far-reaching” changes to address the movement of goods across the Irish Sea.

The proposals  include a unique deal around agri-food – which includes agriculture, horticulture, and food and drink processing – aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Also included is an arrangement to allow the continued sale of chilled meats from Great Britain in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.

The EU  also said it will change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.

The Irish Republic’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, said the proposals reflected “months of hard work, careful listening across Northern Ireland and will deliver practical solutions to make the protocol work better”.

“I hope the UK government is serious about moving on in partnership,” he said.

His plan is expected to offer to lift half of customs checks on goods and more than half of checks on meat and plant products.

However, Ireland’s deputy premier Leo Varadkar has issued a warning to Brussels not to enter any agreements with the UK Government until “confident that they keep their promises”, after Boris Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings appeared to claim No 10 had always intended to “ditch” parts of the deal.

The EU’s proposals are expected to involve reduced checks on goods and medicines. The protocol has so far been disruptive to the plans of businesses in Northern Ireland.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Šefčovič said the new proposals for the protocol would be “very far-reaching” and that he hoped they would be seen as such.

The proposals embody a unique deal around agri-food – which includes agriculture, horticulture, and food and drink processing – aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

There will also be an arrangement to allow the continued sale of chilled meats from Great Britain in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.

The EU has also said it is going to change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.

The Irish Republic’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, said the proposals reflected “months of hard work, careful listening across Northern Ireland and will deliver practical solutions to make the protocol work better”.

“I hope the UK government is serious about moving on in partnership,” he added.s.

The UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost yesterday proposed plans for a new protocol to replace the existing one.

As part of these plans, the UK government wants to reverse its previous agreement on the oversight role of the European Court of Justice, which is the EU’s highest court.

The agreement states that the ECJ has jurisdiction to rule on matters of EU law in Northern Ireland – so for example, if there was a dispute around complying with applicable EU law, the EU could take the UK to the ECJ.

In a speech to diplomats in Portugal on Tuesday, Lord Frost described his new legal text as “a better way forward”.

He said his proposed text would amend the Northern Ireland Protocol and support the Good Friday Agreement.

“We have a short, but real, opportunity to put in place a new arrangement, to defuse the political crisis that is brewing, both in Northern Ireland and between us,” he said.

In some European countries, such as the Netherlands, tourists from the UK have faced constant Covid tests as the NHS app proving full vaccination status is not recognised at the Dutch border or in its bars, restaurants and museums.

However. nearly three months after making an application to the European Commission to join the EU-wide scheme, a spokesperson in Brussels indicated that the wait would soon be over, though without giving a firm date. The spokesperson said: “The commission received the UK’s application on 28 July. Significant progress was made on the technical front with the aim of going live soon.”

 

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