EU made ‘considerable effort’ in new NI proposals despite ‘substantial gap’ in positions

Arlene Foster says more needs to be done for Northern Ireland

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The reasoning for the new proposal lies with the UK stating the current arrangement imposes too many barriers. The new NI protocol will now allow an 80 percent reduction in spot checks on food crossing the Irish Sea.

The updated proposal also included relaxing restrictions on chilled meats, including sausages and ditching the movement of medicines across the Irish Sea.

The Northern Ireland Protocol was introduced to prevent checks between the border with the Republic of Ireland and involves keeping Northern Ireland in the bloc’s single market.

However, this decision created a trade border with Britain.

Unionists state this undermines the country’s position in the United Kingdom.

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Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice-president, unveiled the proposal Wednesday afternoon.

“We have listened to, engaged with and heard Northern Irish stakeholders, from political leaders to businesses and a cross-section of civic society,” he stated.

“Our proposed solutions are a direct and genuine response to concerns they had raised.”

On Wednesday, a UK Government spokesman stated the next step must be “rapidly conducted” intensive talks.

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“Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Another Government spokesman stated that Sefcovic had made “considerable effort” to address problems caused by the protocol, despite there being “a substantial gap between our two positions”.

On Tuesday, Britain’s Brexit minister Lord Frost, came forward with entirely new plans to replace the existing protocol.

The newly proposed protocol stated the Government wants to reverse its previous agreement on the oversight role of the EU Court of Justice.

“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,” Lord Frost said.

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