No alternative to NI Protocol says Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said there is no alternative to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 3:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 3:02 pm

The remarks, which are guaranteed to fuel the angst felt within unionism and loyalism in Northern Ireland, were made by President von der Leyen in Brussels on Monday evening.

Mrs. von der Leyen said the protocol represented the only way to maintain "peace and stability" in Northern Ireland and she added that it also protected the European Union's single market.

“The beginnings are not easy, tensions are being felt around the access, for example, of EU fishing boats, or tensions are without any doubt there around the implementation of the protocol of Northern Ireland.

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The Northern Ireland Protocol was but just one part of Boris Johnson's 'oven ready' withdrawal agreement.

“Just one focus on the protocol, there should be no doubt that there is no alternative to the full and correct implementation of the protocol.

“And I think it is important to reiterate that the protocol is the only possible solution to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland while protecting the integrity of the European Union’s single market.

“If we see problems today we should not forget that they do not come from the protocol but they result from Brexit. That is the reason why the problems are there."

She continued: “Now, it’s our common duty with the United Kingdom to do whatever we can to reduce tensions in Northern Ireland and that is why we are exploring practical solutions to help to minimise the disruptions to the everyday life in Northern Ireland.”

“The beginnings are not easy, tensions are being felt around the access, for example, of EU fishing boats, or tensions are without any doubt there around the implementation of the protocol of Northern Ireland.

“Just one focus on the protocol, there should be no doubt that there is no alternative to the full and correct implementation of the protocol.

Mrs. von der Leyen went on to say those blaming the protocol for what is happening in Northern Ireland were wrong and said they were a direct result of the hard brexit that, at the time, was being pursued by Boris Johson and the European Research Group (ERG).

“And I think it is important to reiterate that the protocol is the only possible solution to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland while protecting the integrity of the European Union’s single market.

“If we see problems today we should not forget that they do not come from the protocol but they result from Brexit. That is the reason why the problems are there.

“Now, it’s our common duty with the United Kingdom to do whatever we can to reduce tensions in Northern Ireland and that is why we are exploring practical solutions to help to minimise the disruptions to the everyday life in Northern Ireland.”

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