EU Offers Border 'express Lane' To Solve N.Ireland Brexit Row
Muhammad Irfan 9 days ago Wed 13th October 2021 | 11:30 PM
Brussels, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Oct, 2021 ) :The EU on Wednesday offered to reduce customs checks and paperwork on British products intended for Northern Ireland in the hope of averting a new Brexit-related spat.
A team of EU negotiators on Wednesday delivered the plans to London a day after the UK's Brexit minister David Frost said the current deal -- known as the Northern Ireland Protocol -- should be ripped up.
"I have listened to and engaged with Northern Irish stakeholders. Today's proposals are our genuine response to their concerns," said European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.
"We are looking forward to engaging earnestly and intensively with the UK government, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland." Although the EU says it refuses to renegotiate the protocol, a statement said the plans were "a different model" for its implementation and would alleviate trade problems "to a significant extent".
The UK said it would look at the proposals "seriously and constructively" and called on both sides to engage in "intensive talks" rapidly.
"We need to find a solution which all sides can get behind for the future, which safeguards the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, and which puts the UK-EU relationship on a stronger footing," the UK government spokesperson added.
- 'Far short' - Since the Brexit trade arrangements kicked in, Britain has turned sour on the terms it accepted in the heat of its divorce that created a de facto trade border within the United Kingdom.
Jeffrey Donaldson, head of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, said the EU proposals were a "starting point" but fell "far short of the fundamental change needed".
London has asked for a complete rewrite of the protocol, including ditching the EU court's role in resolving conflicts, which is a non-starter for the Europeans.
To ease the frictions, the EU released four texts that zeroed in on a number of issues, including complaints of constrained medicine supplies, overzealous food safety checks and too much paperwork.
All the while, "robust monitoring and enforcement" would remain in order to protect the EU from health and security threats, it said.
Looming over the talks is Article 16 of the protocol -- which gives either side the right to say it wants to suspend parts of the trading arrangement if they believe they are flawed.
Britain has threatened to use that provision if the EU does not change its attitude on not renegotiating the protocol.