Irish premier Micheál Martin said he has no doubt over the EU’s willingness to “reach an accommodation” over the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, he said the UK must be willing to engage in the process and follow through on commitments already made.
The issue was discussed by EU leaders at a European Council summit taking place on Thursday and Friday.
A deal is possible
Martin said on Friday:
A deal can be reached. It will take political will and commitment.
I’m in absolutely no doubt about the commitment of the European Union as an institution, but also the members and the key members of the European Union, and their desire to reach an accommodation here in relation to the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Martin called for proper engagement from the UK, and noted that prime minister Boris Johnson had shown a willingness to find solutions. He said:
There is a willingness to be pragmatic and flexible on this but the United Kingdom Government has to engage in the process
My last meeting with Boris Johnson, he was clear he would give this a very strong shot at trying to reach an agreement.
I’m in no doubt the willingness is there on the EU side.
The EU does need reciprocity, it needs the sense from the UK that it will follow through on its commitments that it’s signed up to, and that it will deliver on those commitments.
Tensions over the Protocol in the north of Ireland remain high, with recently appointed DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson promising to campaign against it. He has warned that it is “not realistic” to expect stability in the north of Ireland under the terms of the Protocol.
On Thursday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said Ireland is listening to those who have real concerns about the Protocol. He said he is:
making the case strongly at an EU level for flexibility and pragmatism.
He said that the Irish Government had been advocating for more ambition around sanitary and phytosanitary standards, food standards, veterinary standards and a common approach to that from the UK and the EU.
He said such an approach “could reduce significantly” the number of checks required in ports and airports in the north of Ireland on products coming from Britain. He said:
I’d like to give a message to people in Northern Ireland that despite the frustration that we’ve heard we are trying to work through the issues where there are solutions,
But those solutions require partnership between the British Government and the EU together.
Coveney was speaking after a meeting of the British-Irish intergovernmental conference in Dublin on Thursday, where he met Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis.
Hopefully, this week and into next week, if we can get agreement on the chilled meats issue, at least for the temporary extension of that grace period, that can be a catalyst for improved relationships and the building up of trust.
And allow negotiating teams to try to solve some of these other issues over the summer months, because they need to be solved.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?