Brexit: Sefcovic outlines reform plans for NI protocol
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EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic blasted the UK Brexit Minister following Lord Frost warning Britain would safeguard its position “in other ways” if it is not able to reach an agreement with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, he said that “if there is a genuine problem” with the protocol, “we can find the solutions” but the two sides had to work together.
He said “political posturing and bringing… new problems to the table” will not help solve the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Sefcovic added progress was made on Friday in talks between the European Union and Britain on post-Brexit trade issues affecting Northern Ireland and solutions can be found if London redoubles its efforts.
Asked why he could not accept proposals that goods which were not going to leave Northern Ireland could be treated in one way, while goods that may cross into the Republic were handled differently, he said: “Would the UK accept not to have the overview of what’s coming to the UK market?
“Would they accept it? I don’t think so.
“And you just simply have to understand that if something is coming to the EU single market that we have to have an overview.”
He said the EU had already proposed “gestures and solutions” from their side but added: “We cannot undo the Brexit, especially the type as the UK has proposed it, negotiated it, and signed the agreement up on it with us.”
Mr Sefcovic said the EU was doing “everything possible” to avoid the triggering of Article 16.
He added: “We had a change of tone in the discussions over the last week, which I really appreciate.
“Also our discussion of these practical issues like for example medicines was more constructive than before.
“So it’s a decision of the UK Government.
“We are doing everything possible to avoid it because of course, it will have serious consequences, first and foremost for the people in the Northern Ireland but also for the EU/UK relations, and therefore I want to stay on this positive term.”
More to follow…
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