UK and EU to 'keep talking' amid other updates on future of Northern Ireland Protocol

Fri 27 May 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

Minister for Europe James Cleverly MP has said the government aims to keep Northern Ireland Protocol in place but that changes are needed.

Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee of peers yesterday, he said that the UK would carry on talks with the EU whatever domestic legal avenues were pursued.

On 17 May Foreign secretary Liz Truss announced to parliament planned legislation to override parts of the protocol if the EU does not agree to changes.

'More checks and administration'

The EU has put forward proposals to try and address problems with the implementation of the Protocol, but Politics reports that Cleverly argued these would “envisage more checks, more administration on that East-West trade” which could increase tensions.

Politico reporter Cristina Gallardo tweeted that Cleverly said the EU response to the UK plan to override the protocol could have been “much, much worse” and that both sides have agreed to “keep talking”.

He said the earliest date the proposed legislation could be unveiled is the first week back from recess, although he added that ministers wanted to get it right.

Back to work at Stormont

The BBC reports that Northern Ireland’s Assembly will meet on Monday after a successful petition to recall members was put forward by Sinn Fein, which is now the largest party at Stormont.

The opposition DUP has blocked the establishment of the assembly since this month’s election and has refused to support the election of a new speaker or first and deputy first minister until there is “action” on the NI Protocol.

US senators in NI

Political parties in Northern Ireland met with US congressman Richard Neal yesterday on the final day of his trip to Europe to discuss the Protocol with leaders in Brussels, London, Dublin and Belfast.

Politico reports that while unionist politicians claimed the American delegation showed “ignorance of unionist concerns”, Sinn Fein, which supports the protocol, emerged in a more positive mood.

Sinn Fein leader and first minister designate Michelle O’Neill said “The protocol can and should be made to work with smoother implementation. The delegation was very forthright in its messaging around that.”