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EU-UK

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic has delivered a speech to Queen's University Belfast on his first trip to Northern Ireland in his role as co-chair of the EU-UK Partnership Council and Joint Committee.

  • Link to speech:https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail...
  • Selected excerpts below:
    • On the UK side, [the NI protocol] agreed that EU rules on goods would remain applicable to Northern Ireland, accepting that this would mean checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, acknowledging a role for the EU's institutions. This is the only way to avoid a hard border between north and south. On the EU side, we agreed that the UK would carry out those checks and controls on our behalf – an unprecedented gesture. No other jurisdiction in the world had done this before.
    • I will not mince my words. The Protocol is not the problem. On the contrary, it is the only solution we have. Failing to apply it will not make problems disappear, but simply take away the tools to solve them. I am, of course, acutely aware of how some in Northern Ireland feel about the Protocol, in particular in the Unionist community.
    • I believe that our focus should be on those issues that matter the most to the people of Northern Ireland, and not on requests, such as removing the role of the European Court of Justice.Doing this would effectively mean cutting Northern Ireland off the EU's Single Market and related opportunities.
  • Earlier in the week, leader of the anti-protocol Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Sir Jeffrey Donaldson threatened to pull his party out of the power-sharing executive (Northern Ireland's devolved gov't) should the protocol remain in its current form, risking snap elections to the Stormont Assembly.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 | tom.lake@marketnews.com

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