Brexit

EU to reveal new proposals on Northern Ireland Protocol

EU to reveal new proposals on Northern Ireland Protocol
Henry

The European Union (EU) is to outline new proposals for the Northern Ireland Protocol later on Wednesday.

They will cover customs, agri-food, medicines and the role of Northern Ireland politicians.

The protocol avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.

But it creates a new trade border with Great Britain (GB) which unionists say undermines their place in the UK.

The European Commission Vice President Maros Šefčovič said the proposals would be "very far reaching" and that he hoped they would be seen as such.

The proposals are understood to include a unique agri-food deal aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from GB to Northern Ireland.

There will also be an arrangement to allow the continued sale of GB chilled meats in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.

The EU has also said it is going to change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the proposals reflect "months of hard work, careful listening across Northern Ireland & will deliver practical solutions to make the Protocol work better".

"I hope U.K. Government is serious about moving on in partnership," he added.

Maros ŠefčovičImage source, Getty Images
Image caption, Maros Šefčovič will outline the EU's proposals later

On Tuesday, UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost proposed plans for an entirely new protocol to replace the existing one.

As part of these plans, UK government wants to reverse its previous agreement on the oversight role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is the EU's highest court.

In a speech to diplomats in Portugal on Tuesday, Lord Frost described his new legal text as "a better way forward".

He said his proposed text would amend the Northern Ireland protocol and support the Good Friday Agreement.

"We have a short, but real, opportunity to put in place a new arrangement, to defuse the political crisis that is brewing, both in Northern Ireland and between us," he said.

However, the EU has repeatedly said that the ECJ must have the final say on any matters of EU law in the protocol.

It is expected that the two sides will engage in intense talks during November.

A street protest in Belfast against the NI ProtocolImage source, Reuters
Image caption, Some unionists in Northern Ireland have held street protests against the protocol

The UK has threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol if those talks cannot reach an agreement.

It would suspend parts of the protocol.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - Northern Ireland's largest unionist party - has warned that it may quit Stormont if its demands over the protocol are not met.

He has claimed pressure from unionists had led the EU to table its new proposals.

Trending News

New Year snow flurries fall across England

New Year snow flurries fall across...

Many parts of England have seen snow flurries accompany the arrival of New Year. Areas which welcomed in 2021 with several centimetres...

Covid in Scotland The people who have lost their lives to Covid 19

Covid in Scotland The people who have...

As Scotland's coronavirus death toll passes 6,000 and continues to rise, we are sharing the stories of some of those who have...

Week in pictures 5 11 December 2020

Week in pictures 5 11 December 2020...

A selection of powerful news photographs taken around the world this week. image copyrightJacob King / Reutersimage captionMargaret...

Huddersfield phone mast fire put residents at risk

Huddersfield phone mast fire put residents...

A phone mast fire led to dozens of people being evacuated from their homes in Huddersfield in the early hours.It is not yet known what...

Coronavirus Who is still flying

Coronavirus Who is still flying...

media captionInside the almost deserted Heathrow airportLondon's Heathrow airport normally has about 600 flights landing on an...

When is tax dodging illegal

When is tax dodging illegal...

There are a lot of rash statements being made about whether or not the K2 tax avoidance scheme used by Jimmy Carr was "legal".The...

Our Latest Blog

Click to read Biden election Mike Pence welcomes senators bid to derail result

Biden election Mike Pence welcomes senators bid to derail result

US Vice-President Mike Pence has welcomed an effort by a group of senators to refuse to certify Joe Biden's presidential election...

Click to read Inauguration 2021 What happens on the day Biden is sworn in

Inauguration 2021 What happens on the day Biden is sworn in

Joe Biden is US president-elect. But the Democrat won't officially make his move to the White House until inauguration day - a...

Click to read Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell s homes vandalised

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell s homes vandalised

Vandals in the US have attacked the homes of the leaders of the two houses of Congress on the eve of a new session and the swearing-in...

Click to read Veteran US broadcaster Larry King in hospital with Covid

Veteran US broadcaster Larry King in hospital with Covid

Veteran broadcaster Larry King, 87, has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at a hospital in Los Angeles, according...

Click to read Policeman buys family food instead of arresting them for shoplifting

Policeman buys family food instead of arresting them for shoplifting

A US police officer who was called out to arrest a family suspected of shoplifting instead bought them some food so they could have...

Click to read Suspected Islamists kill dozens in attacks on two Niger villages

Suspected Islamists kill dozens in attacks on two Niger villages

Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in Niger, with reports of dozens of civilians killed. Around 49 died and 17...