David McAllister: On the UK announcement regarding the operation of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland
8 September 2021
The UK has presented a ministerial statement regarding the operation of the Protocol on the current basis. This includes the continuation of existing grace periods.
The Withdrawal Agreement is an international agreement. The Protocol is an integral part of it and the agreed solution between the UK and the EU to all the difficulties caused by Brexit for the island of Ireland. Both parties are legally bound to fulfil their obligations under this Agreement.
We need to identify long-term, flexible and practical solutions to address issues related to the practical implementation of the Protocol that citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland are experiencing. It is not about renegotiating the Protocol. Let us continue to engage constructively with the UK, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland.
The Protocol is based on the achievement of stability, certainty and predictability in line with the objectives of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement and to protect the Single Market. Businesses and citizens in Northern Ireland will reap the full benefits of the Protocol and, in particular, the access to the Single Market it provides.
The Commission has announced to reserve its rights in respect of infringement proceedings. At present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March this year, and is not opening any new infringements for now.