Brexit: Liz Truss claims trade with the EU is 'bouncing back'
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Its premier Micheal Martin said Downing Street would have to offer concessions to match the European Union’s “pragmatism” to resolve the issues surrounding the protocol to avoid a hard border. In an intervention that will likely stoke tensions between the EU and UK, he demanded the “full implementation” of the post-Brexit rules in the region. It came after he met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to sign off on Ireland’s plans to spend EU recovery cash.
Mr Martin told a news conference in Dublin: “I appreciate it and I thanked the President for the Commission’s recent decision to address some issues that have arisen under the protocol, including to agreeing to the extension of the grace period on chilled meats.
“The Commission team, under vice-president Sefcovic, has shown flexibility and pragmatism.
“I hope and believe this spirit should be reciprocated, and that the coming months will be used productively so we can achieve full implementation of the protocol in a way that benefits the people of Northern Ireland and of Ireland.”
Mr Martin praised Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, for reaching out to discuss the issues of the Protocol with people in Northern Ireland.
Mrs von der Leyen said: “The protocol is the solution to the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland, it’s certainly not the problem.
“It’s the only solution we have found with the UK, after discussing that over years, it’s the only solution to protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market.
“We are convinced that to achieve these objects the protocol needs to be implemented.
“We have shown as the European Commission huge flexibility, creativity and pragmatism over the last years and over the last weeks, if I remind you of the grace period extensions.”
In a warning to Prime Minister Mr Johnson, she added: “I cannot imagine that our British friends will not show the same flexibility and the same pragmatism because we all share the same purpose that we want to have peace and stability on the island of Ireland.”
Britain is demanding that The EU works to ease the burdens of the post-Brexit rules on the region.
Cabinet Office minister Penny Mordaunt told MPs that a “seriously unbalanced” situation is developing in Northern Ireland as a result of the protocol.
To avoid a hard border, the area essentially remains inside the EU’s single market, with controls and checks on goods shipped from there from the rest of the UK.
Brexit minister Lord Frost has warned that the EU’s hardline approach to its implementation has had a chilling effect on trade in the region.
Ms Mordaunt said: “We must respond to people’s concerns and that means the EU working with us to ease the burdens on Northern Ireland, not prioritising the single market.”
She added: “A seriously unbalanced situation is developing in the way the Protocol is operating. The Protocol can only be sustained for as long as it retains support in Northern Ireland and therefore making it work, you’d think, in everyone’s interest.
“We need to focus on those shared and stated principles and common ambitions for prosperity and peace.”
The Government will set out a series of proposals for how it feels the issue of Brexit rules in Northern Ireland should be moved on.
Lord Frost has signalled these will be published before the House of Commons rises for its summer recess.
Commenting on the plans, Ms Mordaunt said: “As we now need to think creatively, we have to find a new balance.
“We need an approach to implementation that respects the delicate balance between the interests of all communities in Northern Ireland and the economic and cultural links, east and west as well as north and south, and that is the thrust of the motion we’ve been debating.
“The Government is ready to do this and colleagues will not have long to wait.”
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