Brussels ‘preparing for worst’ from UK after setting out changes to NI protocol



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russels is reportedly “preparing for the worst” as it awaits the UK’s response to a series of steps it proposed to cut trade red tape across the Irish Sea

The European Union Commission has laid out measures to slash 80% of regulatory checks and dramatically cut customs processes on the movement of goods, especially food and farming produce, between Britain and the island of Ireland.

The UK Government welcomed the announcement on Wednesday night, signalling that it wanted “intensive talks” to follow the EU’s proposals, designed to tackle disruption caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.

But the EU is now reportedly “preparing for the worst” from the UK in response to its proposals and fear Boris Johnson will reject the plan, according to The Guardian and The Independent newspapers.

European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic who has promised the measures will be ‘very far-reaching’ and address issues over the movement of agri-food goods and medicines across the Irish Sea (Brian Lawless/PA) / PA Wire

“The EU have now published their proposals in response to those in our Command Paper,” a UK Government spokesperson said.

“We are studying the detail and will of course look at them seriously and constructively.

“The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is common ground to find a solution.

“Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland.”

The scaled-back checking regime proposed by the EU would also remove the prospect of certain British produce, including Cumberland sausages, being banned from export to the region.

The EU plan also includes a 50% reduction in customs paperwork required to move products into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

In return, the trading bloc has asked for safeguards to be implemented to provide extra assurances that products said to be destined for Northern Ireland do not end up crossing the Irish border.



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