One year and a month after the UK finally freed itself from the shackles of Brussels, there is growing frustration at the lack of a solution to the
One year and a month after the UK finally freed itself from the shackles of Brussels, there is growing frustration at the lack of a solution to the problems being faced in the province. Urgent talks to find a solution to frictions caused by the mechanism in the withdrawal agreement began in October last year, but after many weeks of discussions, no breakthrough has been found.
Unionists argue bureaucratic rules are stopping goods from travelling from Great Britain across the Irish Sea, undermining the UK’s internal market.
Despite the Government saying the threshold has been met for the UK to unilaterally trigger Article 16 – the legal means to suspend aspects of the Protocol – due to the problems caused by its implementation, no such action has been taken.
After meeting with her EU counterpart last week, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said promised to “take stock” of negotiations next week.
Brexiteers are urging the South West Norfolk MP to pull the plug on the Protocol if a breakthrough has not been found.
READ MORE ON OUR BREXIT LIVE BLOG
Former Conservative minister and leading eurosceptic, John Redwood told Express.co.uk: “delay is extremely dangerous. The EU is bitterly diverting our trade away from Great Britain.
“The majority of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland is extremely unhappy about what has happened.
“I urge the Government to make decisions here at home because after such a long period when the EU has shown it has no intention of coming to a sensible agreement for the whole of Northern Ireland.”
Wellingborough MP and senior Brexiteer Peter Bone added: “I think the one thing we’ve learnt about the European Union is there is no such thing as a deadline or urgency.
“They will just carry on and carry on.
“I heard the Northern Ireland Secretary in the Commons this week saying the Protocol is damaging Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole.
READ MORE: Boris set to land HUGE new Brexit trade deal worth BILLIONS
They told this website: “I appreciate the Government wants to normalise relations with the EU, but frankly we’re getting nowhere like this.
“It’s far from me to tell Boris how to act, but I hope he’s looking hard as to whether there is any benefit in repeatedly dragging out talks to no end.”
Losing patience at the lack of progress, last week Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan said the UK Government had set February 21 as a “significant date” for progress in its negotiations with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The DUP representative warned his party was ready to collapse the power-sharing executive in the province if the UK Government failed to act.
Such a move would risk undermining the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Giving Ms Truss the ultimatum in person when she held meetings with political leaders in Belfast last week, he said: “I have emphasised the absolute critical nature of that progress being made, because the protocol is causing instability to these institutions, it is damaging our economy and this is having a real impact on Northern Ireland.
“So, we need to see that progress, we need to see that imminently and we also need to see action taken by the UK Government if there isn’t an agreed outcome.”
Ms Truss this morning said there is a “deal to be done” on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
She told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “I want to fix the protocol. I think there is a deal to be done.
“We’ve had positive discussions with the European Union. Everyone recognises there’s a problem. My priority is protecting peace and stability in Northern Ireland, protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) agreement.
“We are in intensive talks, so I saw Maros Sefcovic on Monday in Brussels. He’s coming over this week on Thursday for further talks.”