Protocol barriers should be «removed, not replaced»

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson insisted that trade barriers between Britain and the North as a result of Brexit should be «removed, not replaced».

Speaking after Monday’s meeting with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, Mr. Donaldson also urged London to unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol unless Brussels renegotiates it.

«My message was simple,» Mr. Donaldson said after the virtual meeting. “The protocol did not work. Even those who supported its strict implementation know this.

«Barriers and distortions to trade within the UK’s internal market must be removed and not replaced.»

Donaldson said his party had «pressure the UK government to that end».

«Both the (UK) government and the European Union must renegotiate now,» he added.

“If the EU is unwilling to recognize the harm caused by the Protocol, the UK government must take appropriate unilateral action using Article 16.

«Subjecting NI to laws and regulations over which its representatives and Westminster have no say can never work and not have the support of both communities.»

The controversial Article 16 of the protocol allows the EU or the UK to unilaterally suspend aspects of their operations if either side considers that aspect causing «economic, social or environmental difficulties».

The protocol was negotiated as part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping the North in the EU’s single market for goods.

Unionists oppose the result of checking goods arriving in the region from Britain, which they believe threatens the constitutional status of the north within the United Kingdom.

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The grace period for easing inspections and inspections of refrigerated meat is due to expire in October.

On Sunday, supermarkets wrote to Sefcovic and Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Frost urging more action before the end of September «if there is no major disruption to supply and an increase in cost for consumers in Northern Ireland».

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