Brexit: Liz Truss says Northern Ireland Protocol ‘isn’t working’
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Since leaving the EU, Northern Ireland has operated under the Protocol which gives it access to the single market, but must follow customs rules between it and Great Britain. A Brexiteer has now accused the bloc of “not wanting to play ball” on negotiating the hated deal.
Robert Kimbell, leader of the Time Party, accused the EU on Twitter of refusing to ease customs issues in Northern Ireland.
He said: “The EU sees Northern Ireland as a future acquisition. It does not want to play ball…
“New IT system could solve NI Protocol stalemate – but EU officials refuse to log in, notes The Telegraph.
“Foreign Sec Liz Truss says new cross-border trade system has been live since January.”
The EU is accused of seeing part of the UK as a ‘future acquisition’ (Image: GETTY)
Robert Kimbell said the ‘EU sees Northern Ireland as a future acquisition’ (Image: TWITTER)
Mr Kimbell referred to reports the EU refuses to access data that Downing Street says proves customs checks on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland can be ditched.
Since January, an IT system has been live which monitors cross-border trade between Britain and Ireland.
According to the Telegraph, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is angered by claims from Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission negotiator, that she has failed to provide promised information on product flows.
A Government source told the outlet: “The EU says it wants solutions and reassurances, and here they are plain as day.
“We urge the EU to be reasonable and make use of this offer, so we can get on with fixing the Protocol and protecting the hard-won gains of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
Reports say the EU refuses to use IT systems to ease trade between Northern Ireland and Britain (Image: GETTY)
Jeffery Donaldson (L) said urged Boris to act on unionists’ concerns around the Protocol (Image: GETTY)
EU officials said the British database was not up to standard, as it does not provide them with “real time” information on cross-border movements.
They also insisted they were offered the chance to log on to the “EU Access System” after a presentation by UK officials on February 24.
It comes after Britain backed down from introducing a bill that would allow them to unilaterally override the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told ITV’s Peston: “Our focus is on resolving the issues with the protocol, ideally we want to do that by agreement with the European Union.”
Pressed on whether an announcement would come next week, he said: “No, Robert, we’ve not said that.”
Sinn Fein, pro-Protocol and unification, are set to become the largest party in Stormont (Image: GETTY)
Boris will give EU talks over Northern Ireland ‘one last chance’ before overriding parts of the deal (Image: EXPRESS)
According to The Times, Boris Johnson will give talks with the EU over Northern Ireland “one last chance” before introducing a bill which overrides parts of the Protocol.
Meanwhile, Sir Jeffery Donaldson, DUP leader, urged the Government to act on unionists’ concerns around the post-Brexit trading arrangements.
He said his party will not enter a future Executive unless the Government takes action on the protocol.
The DUP is expected to be replaced as the largest in the Executive by nationalists Sinn Feín, who regard the Protocol as “mitigating against Brexit”.
Stephen Kelly urged EU and UK politicians to ‘sort the technicalities and trade issues’ (Image: EXPRESS)
Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, urged politicians to tackle Protocol problems “now that the election is out of the way”.
Speaking to the News Letter, he said: “From a practicalities point of view, businesses are just getting on with it.
“Successive surveys now, not just from a manufacturing point of view but from the Northern Ireland Chamber and others, all point to a business community who say ‘this isn’t the choice that we would have made, but it is the law, and we now need to work hard and solve the problem’. That’s what they’re doing.
He added: “We need to resolve this stuff. We can sort the technicalities. We can sort the trade issues.
‘We have been working really closely with the UK government and the EU to say ‘listen, we need you to resolve this’ and once it’s resolved we’re in a much better place and we can move on.”