EU proposes easing controls on British trade to N. Ireland

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BRUSSELS (Businesshala) – The European Union offered Britain a package of measures to ease the transit of goods into Northern Ireland, but tensions over post-Brexit trade rules for the province did not seem likely to end as it moved to London. was reduced by overhaul. demanded.

FILE PHOTO: Lorries leave a ferry at the Port of Larne, Northern Ireland, Britain January 1, 2021. Businesshala/Phil Noble/File photo

The EU executive said the measures here could cut customs paperwork in half and cut meat, dairy and other food products coming into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain by up to 80%. The new EU rules will ensure that the flow of medicines, especially generics, is not disturbed.

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European Commission vice-president Maros Sefkovic said of the drugs proposal, “We have completely reversed our rules and turned inside out to find a solid solution.”

As in the remainder of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has been the EU’s single market for goods since the UK’s departure from the EU, meaning that its exports to the rest of the 27-nation bloc are subject to no customs checks, tariffs, etc. or does not face paperwork.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefkovic, which oversees post-Brexit relations with Britain, has said the arrangement gives Northern Irish businesses the best of both worlds.

However, the result is an effective customs border in the Irish Sea, which upset trade from the rest of the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland and angered the province’s pro-British federalists.

Sefkovic told Businesshala he believed the proposals “ticked all the boxes” by addressing problems and keeping Northern Ireland’s border with EU member Ireland open.

“This new alternative implementation of the protocol … also takes care of sausages,” he said, referring to the ‘sausage war’ inspired by the EU’s ban on imports of certain meat products. Safekovic said Northern Irish people will have access to their favorite sausages.

Sefkovic said the package should not be seen as a “take it or leave it” proposal, but as the foundation for a joint agreement with Britain. However, if it is rejected there will be no next package.

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The Commission says that, in exchange for concessions, the EU seeks fair sharing of live data, reinforced monitoring of supply chains and labeling to ensure that British products pass through Northern Ireland’s backdoor to the EU’s single Don’t slip in the market.

The commission will also plan to make people in Northern Ireland understand their position and do more to get them involved.

However, the Executive Commission will not be open to renegotiating the protocol that governs the unique trading situation of Northern Ireland, leaving Brussels and London on a potential collision course.

‘it takes two to tango’

A British government spokesman said the next step should be in-depth talks to see if there was common ground, adding that “significant changes” should be made, including the rule of protocol.

Brexit Minister David Frost, whom Sefkovic expects to meet on Friday, said he would look at EU proposals constructively.

He told Britain’s House of Lords: “We are starting a dialogue, and we’ve got a track record of reaching successful outcomes in negotiations despite predictions, and I hope we will do so again this time.” Wednesday afternoon.

Northern Ireland’s largest pro-British party, the Democratic Unionist Party, said the EU proposals were a starting point, but fell short of the fundamental changes needed.

Northern Irish businesses welcomed the “signs of movement”, but said they were waiting to see details.

Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin told Newstalk radio that the EU had heard legitimate concerns about the protocol and was in “resolution mode” and that the British government had a responsibility to remain in that mode as well.

“It takes two to tango,” he said.

Frost said on Tuesday that London would be ready to discuss the proposals “whatever they say”, but he also called for a new “forward-looking” protocol, without the oversight of European judges.

On Wednesday, he denied EU allegations that Britain had abruptly moved the goalposts and said it had been clear on its stance on the European Court of Justice’s position from July.

Sefkovic said the court’s oversight was the price of access to the European Single Market, which Northern Ireland enjoys.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Additional reporting by Michael Holden, Sarah Young and Guy Faulconbridge in London, Graham Fahy, Paedric Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Nick McPhee, Toby Chopra, Timothy Heritage and Philip Fletcher


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