Significant differences continue between London and the EU over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol provided for in the Brexit agreement, and negotiations will continue in London next week, Britain’s David Frost announced today.
“We have not made significant progress yet” on customs and phytosanitary controls on goods delivered from Britain to the British province, the British Under Secretary of State said at the end of his meeting in Brussels with European Commissioner Maros Sefkovic.
These controls are the cause of supply difficulties in Northern Ireland, according to London.
At this point, Sefkovic called on the British to take a clear step towards the EU’s offer of a easing of controls on many of the products that do not enter the European market.
“There is progress” on another issue that is causing friction, the delivery of medicines, but it has not yet allowed an agreement to be reached, Frost said in a statement.
“This is a crucial issue,” Sefkovic said, calling for “progress in the talks” to reach a solution.
Frost reiterated that Britain prefers a consensus, but added that in the event of failure, London “remains ready” to activate Article 16, which allows the suspension of certain provisions of the protocol.
However, he described the talks between the two sides as “intensive and constructive”, following the latest round of talks in London last week.
While the British want to renegotiate the protocol in depth, Sefkovic warned this morning that the Northern Ireland protocol and the free trade agreement between London and the EU are “directly linked”.
The trade agreement reached at the end of December 2020, following the divorce between Britain and the EU, offers the former Member State unprecedented duty-free access and quotas to the vast European market.
“One cannot exist without the other,” Sefkovic added during a speech at Dublin City University, an indirect response to London’s threats of partial suspension.
The protocol, which has been in force since the beginning of the year, keeps the British province in the customs union and the EU single market to prevent the re-establishment of a natural border on the island of Ireland, which could jeopardize the 1998 peace agreement.
Negotiations will continue in London on November 26 at the sixth meeting since the European bid was made in mid-October, according to Frost.
Source From: Capital