‘EU’s latest proposals will mean win-win result for all’

New measures on the Brexit protocol will create an “express line” on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, resulting in a “win-win situation” for all, the EU’s lead negotiator has said.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 20th November 2021, 7:48 am
EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic
EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said the bloc will offer to permanently slash customs paperwork by 50%, along with the removal of up to 80% of checks.

Mr Sefcovic was speaking at the Brexit Institute at Dublin City University yesterday, immediately before crunch talks with his counterpart Lord David Frost.

He called on the UK to “reciprocate” but welcomed what he said was the recent “change in tone” in talks.

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Mr Sefvoic said the “comprehensive long-term solution” that would see “further facilitation and simplification” of customs checks will result in a “50% permanent reduction in existing paperwork”.

He added: “These measures would create a type of express line, which would substantially facilitate trade between all parties, a win-win situation for all.

“It is a unique and completely new model for how goods can be moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, one that will strengthen opportunities for people and businesses alike.”

He added: “It will make the application of the protocol more transparent while at the same time respecting the UK’s constitutional order.

“A website will also be set up to show in a clear and comprehensive way the EU legislation applicable in Northern Ireland.”

However, Mr Sefcovic has warned that the post-Brexit trade deal is “intrinsically linked” to settling the withdrawal agreement, which includes the Northern Ireland protocol.

He said: “Right now we need the UK Government to reciprocate the significant move the EU has made.

“I notice and welcome a recent change in tone from the UK Government and we hope that actions will follow the words.”

However, he ruled out a renegotiation of the protocol.

He said: “Our solutions can become reality if the UK plays its part. That is why we have engaged constructively with the UK in order to agree joint solutions.

“But we also make clear, with the full support of the European Parliament and the member states, that we will not renegotiate the protocol.”

To do so risks stability in Northern Ireland, he said.