EU refuse to end ECJ oversight in Norther Ireland Protocol talks
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Reporting from Brussels on Friday, Sky News reporter Adam Parsons said EU diplomats engaged in talks to solve the failing Northern Ireland Protocol have refused to relinquish the oversight of the European Court of Justice over the trade chaos, despite Northern Ireland not being part of the EU anymore.
Discussing today’s talks, he noted how when asked if Lord Frost expected any “major breakthroughs” to solve the chaos between the EU and UK, the Chief Brexit negotiator played down any form of optimism.
Mr Parsons noted: “I think that tells you that the two sides are still far apart.”
He went on to say how diplomats on both sides say there is still a “yawning chasm between” the bloc and the UK as he suggested the talks are going nowhere.
Mr Parsons noted the major rift centres around the EU”s feeling that they have already given “a lot of concessions” through the talks.
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Such concessions include relaxing some checks on goods flowing into Northern Ireland.
But he stressed UK negotiators “clearly want more” concessions from the bloc.
He added that while the UK did sign off on the Northern Ireland Protocol, in practice it is not working and needs to be renegotiated.
Despite this, the EU maintain that all sides were aware of the trade and Good Friday Agreement issues that may be experienced upon implementation of the Protocol.
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Bloc leaders also argue Lord Frost acknowledged “foreseeable issues” at the time of signing the Protocol.
But Mr Parsons warned the EU simply do not want to “go back to basics” and conduct a complete “fundamental rethink” of trade in Northern Ireland.
But most importantly, he waned the EU simply “don’t want to give up the place of the European Court of Justice” with its ability to oversee the Protocol.
Representatives from the EU have the right to oversee the implementation and application of the Protocol. It also states that the ECJ has jurisdiction to rule on matters of EU law in Northern Ireland.
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He said this leaves the “thorny question” of whether or not the British Government would press ahead and trigger Article 16 which would suspend part or all of the trade restrictions in place and put them in the hands of the UK.
Speaking on Friday Lord Frost said that while some progress had been made and there was “potential to generate some momentum” in talks, he warned unless the EU compromised in discussions, triggering Article 16 may still be necessary in order to protect the integrity of the UK.
Lord Frost also “welcomed” European Commission Maros Šefčovič’s acknowledgement in a speech on Friday that the Protocol had led to “unintended consequences in Northern Ireland”.
Setting out the EU’s plans, Mr Šefčovič said he wanted to create an “express line” for goods set to remain in Northern Ireland with little likelihood of entering the EU via the Republic of Ireland.
For months the UK has warned the Protocol is having a damaging impact on the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
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