Ministers to outline proposals to address NI Protocol


inisters are preparing to outline their proposals to Parliament for solving the “serious challenges” caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Boris Johnson used a phone call on Tuesday with his Dublin counterpart Micheal Martin to urge “pragmatism” in order to mend the issues being created by the post-Brexit terms, as reports suggest the UK will put itself on a collision course with the European Union over its mooted solutions.

The Financial Times said Brexit minister Lord Frost, who is due to give a statement to peers on Wednesday, will outline a strategy that seeks to eliminate most checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Conservative peer told Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee that the only way to make the Protocol work was to “hugely reduce or eliminate the barriers” that have effectively created a border down the Irish Sea since it came into force in January.

The Prime Minister said the EU must show pragmatism and solutions needed to be found to address the serious challenges that have arisen with the Protocol

In a bid to deliver on that aim, the FT said Lord Frost will push for an “honesty box” approach to allow companies in Great Britain that declare their goods are only destined for sale and use in Northern Ireland to skip border checks.

The Protocol was negotiated as part of Britain’s divorce from Brussels to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

But the introduction of checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea has angered Unionists, who have protested against it in recent months, arguing the Brexit terms have weakened Northern Ireland’s links with the rest of the UK.

The UK Government has also said the checks and added red tape have caused trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to decline.

Separately, US State department spokesman Ned Price told reporters it would be “watching” events in the UK.

He added: “As we’ve consistently said over time, we do support a close relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and we encourage them to negotiate within the existing mechanisms when differences do arise.

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