An agreement on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol could be reached “in a few weeks”, provided there is political will, according to European Commission Vice President Maros Ševović.
On Monday (November 7), Šivović told the semi-annual meeting of the Association of Parliamentary Partners between the European Union and the United Kingdom in London that he did not believe that the European Union and the United Kingdom were “two separate worlds” on the issue.
The deadlock over the protocol issue has contributed to the political instability in Northern Ireland in recent months. The Democratic Unionist Party, which calls for a fundamental change or abolition of the protocol, has halted the formation of a new government in Belfast pending its concerns over a protocol that introduced customs controls on goods en route from Britain to the island of Ireland, which have been cleared.
This is the area in which we do not seek a political victory. “We just want to solve the problem,” said Sivovich.
I think this is possible if there is political will. I’m sure we can resolve the issue in a few weeks because both sides of our negotiating teams know these issues from all angles.”
The assembly, which includes 21 MPs, 14 British Parliament counterparts and 35 MEPs, was created under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to promote cooperation and parliamentary scrutiny between the UK and the UK in support of the EU post-Brexit.
After the often-watched relationship between Boris Johnson and EU leaders, Brussels saw an improvement in relations during Lise Truss’s six-week tenure. It is unclear how her successor, Rishi Sunak, will deal with EU-UK relations, although there are early signs that issues related to Brexit will not be high on his government’s agenda.
Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met for the first time on the sidelines of the COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt on Monday.
For his part, the new British Europe Minister, Leo Docherty, said that “Rishi Sunak’s government prefers to resolve this issue through talks.” The UK government’s bill, which would give ministers the power to unilaterally repeal the protocol, reached its final stage in the House of Lords this week, although ministers indicated they would not rush into the act.
However, he repeated London’s criticism of the Commission’s decision to ban the UK from the Horizon Europe R&D programme, and accused the EU of politicizing scientific cooperation by linking it to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
UK involvement would be a clear win for both the UK and the EU, but the UK cannot wait any longer. The EU’s approach creates intolerable uncertainty for our research and business communities.”
While the EU executive has initiated infringement proceedings against the UK over the protocol, the UK has launched a lawsuit over Horizon Europe. The UK argues that access to the software was expressly agreed upon in the TCA.
Irish MEP Sean Kelly has called on the Sunak government to restore the UK’s international reputation by abandoning the Protocol Act.
“We remain firmly opposed to the bill, but due to the internal political turmoil in the UK, we want to create space for discussions about common solutions. The reality is that if the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is passed, the EU will have no choice but to respond accordingly,” Kelly said. “No one wants that.”
[Bearbeitet von Alice Taylor]
“Alcohol buff. Troublemaker. Introvert. Student. Social media lover. Web ninja. Bacon fan. Reader.”