| 7.2°C Belfast

Solutions can be found to outstanding Northern Ireland trade issues – Coveney

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said a way forward can be found within the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Close

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Solutions can be found to the outstanding issues around trade in Northern Ireland post-Brexit, Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister has said.

Simon Coveney said finding a way forward within the framework of the Northern Ireland Protocol will foster stability in Northern Ireland when it is “needed now more than ever”.

It comes as the European Union’s top official warned that the Brexit trade deal has “real teeth” and Brussels will not hesitate to take action if UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson breaches its terms.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she hopes the EU will not have to use the measures contained within the agreement.

“I firmly believe that acting together within the framework of the protocol, the EU and UK can find solutions to the outstanding issuesSimon Coveney

“The protocol is the only solution to the problems created by Brexit for the island of Ireland and we firmly support ongoing contacts between EU and UK on its implementation,” Mr Coveney told an Irish parliamentary committee.

He said the Irish Government had listened to the concerns voiced about some aspects of how the protocol operates.

“The EU is doing everything it possibly can to reflect these concerns and working with the UK to implement the protocol in a way that impacts as little as possible on people’s everyday lives and on trade,” he added.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

“I firmly believe that acting together within the framework of the protocol, the EU and UK can find solutions to the outstanding issues.

“Finding a sustainable and collaborative way forward is ultimately to the benefit of all communities in Northern Ireland and to the EU and UK as a whole.

“It will also foster stability that given recent very concerning disturbances in Northern Ireland is needed now more than ever.”

Mr Coveney also told the EU Affairs Committee 26 issues had been identified by negotiators and that about 20 of them can be resolved through technical negotiation.

He described some of the issues as “much more political” and “more difficult” to deal with and may require “changes in the approach that can allow the protocol to be implemented more easily”.

He said the most high profile of these was sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards on animals and animal products.

“I do hope that the negotiating teams will be able to look at this space and see whether there is a middle-ground position between dynamic alignment, and an equivalence on SPS standards that could quite dramatically reduce the number of tests that are required on goods coming into Larne and Belfast ports from GB into the Northern Ireland market and into the single market via Northern Ireland,” Mr Coveney said.

He added that if a way forward could be found on SPS it would be a “win for everybody”.

The supply of medicines, steel tariffs and the labelling of goods are some of the other issues that need to be addressed.


Top Videos



Privacy