NI: Proposals for implementation of Northern Ireland Protocol published

NI: Proposals for implementation of Northern Ireland Protocol published

Proposals for the implementation of the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit deal have been published by the UK government.

A new 25-page document sets out how the UK proposes to meet its obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol, though Tánaiste Simon Coveney said parts of the document would be met with scepticism in Brussels.

Writing in the introduction, Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, insisted the UK would be able to “discharge our obligations without the need for any new customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland”.

There will be “very minimal” checks on goods covered by “specific international obligations binding on the UK and the EU”, such as endangered animals, as well as “expanded infrastructure” at ports and airports in Northern Ireland to carry out checks on agri-goods.

However, there is uncertainty over whether the proposals will satisfy the Irish government and other EU member states. Raoul Ruparel, a former UK government adviser on Europe, told FT: “To say the EU will need some convincing is an understatement.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “The UK government’s top priority is to protect the huge gains of the Northern Ireland peace process and as a new chapter opens in the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union, we are committed to ensuring prosperity and opportunity for all communities in Northern Ireland.

“These proposals will implement the Protocol in a flexible, proportionate and sensitive way – while protecting the interests of both the whole of the UK and the EU. Our approach represents a practical way of implementing the Protocol while making sure that businesses in Northern Ireland can take full advantage of the opportunities presented as the United Kingdom begins to forge new trade links across the globe.”

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