Checks on UK goods going to NI can be cut to 'a few lorries a day' – Business Plus

The Taoiseach has said the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has demonstrated his “desire to be solution-driven” when it comes to checks on Uk Goods and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Micheál Martin made his remarks yesterday in response to Maros Sefcovic‘s suggestion that physical checks on goods travelling across the Irish Sea could be cut to a “couple of lorries a day”.
Mr Sefcovic told the Financial Times that Brussels stands ready to work in an “open and constructive” way with Britain, following a statement from new British prime minister Liz Truss on the prospect of a negotiated settlement on the protocol.
He argued that the trade border would be “invisible” under the EU’s plans, with goods processed “remotely” while making their way to the North, as long as the UK provides real-time data on their movements.
It comes as the UK and EU have been embroiled in a row over Britain’s proposals to override parts of the controversial post-Brexit treaty, as it seeks to reduce trade barriers with the region.
Speaking at Fianna Fáil’s parliamentary think-in in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Mr Martin said: “What Maros Sefcovic is demonstrating is his flexibility, his desire to be solution-driven and what you’re witnessing this morning is further solutions, proposed ideas around resolving the protocol issue.
“I spoke with the British PM late last week. It was a preliminary discussion. We will meet again on these issues.
“I do believe genuinely there’s a view… that we should do everything we can to resolve this issue.”
He added that the “European Union and the UK really should sort this out so that we can focus on the bigger issues geopolitically that are facing the European Union and UK, who are good partners on these more fundamental issues.”
On Wednesday, Ms Truss said her preference is for a negotiated solution to the dispute. But she said such a resolution would have to deliver “all of the things we set out” in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which is currently making its way through the British parliament.
The legislation would allow ministers to unilaterally scrap the arrangements the UK signed up to as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Physical customs checks on goods moving from Great Britain to the North have been required by the EU under the implementation of the protocol.
The agreement allows the North to effectively remain in the EU’s Single Market.
Both the UK government and unionists in the North have attacked the “bureaucratic” checks being imposed on goods moving across the Irish Sea.
The DUP has refused to rejoin the power-sharing executive until the protocol – which they insist threatens the North’s place in the UK – is reformed. New elections are due in the North unless a new administration can be formed before October 28.
“We stand ready to work in an open and constructive and intensive way,” Mr Sefcovic said. “I also would prefer to work around the tight deadlines because I am fully aware of the dates which will be coming by the end of October.”
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson told the Financial Times: “If we are to arrive at a solution it requires [the EU] to accept, and respect, the integrity of the UK, its internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.”


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