“This afternoon, the European Parliament’s UK Contact Group met to assess the consequences of the UK government’s new ‘command paper’ seeking to renegotiate substantial elements of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. We would like to reiterate our unwavering commitment to the full implementation of the Protocol. We also welcome and support European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič’ expressed intention to continue engaging with the UK, and his statement that the EU will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol.
As underlined in our latest resolution, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland reflects a very delicate and sensitive political balance jointly agreed to by both the EU and UK after painstaking negotiations. It represents the only solution to address the unique situation and challenges on the island of Ireland caused by the type of Brexit the UK government chose and the UK’s decision to leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. It protects the Irish peace process and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions. Instead of putting the Protocol into question, we urge the UK government to show flexibility and pragmatism, as the European Union has done so far, and to continue working with the EU side to find workable and practical solutions for people and businesses on the island of Ireland within the current legal framework.
Over the past years and weeks, the EU has itself worked intensely to find feasible arrangements, including on grace periods and documentation requirements, as well as to minimise inevitable Brexit disruptions, whilst protecting the Single Market. Joint action in the bodies established by the Withdrawal Agreement will be of paramount importance over the coming months. Additionally, it is crucial to continue to engage jointly with business groups, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland.
As representatives of the European Parliament, we stand ready to continue exercising our crucial oversight role and to work alongside our British and European partners in securing the best outcome for all parties.”
Mr David McAllister (EPP, Germany) is the Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the UK Contact Group, Mr Bernd Lange (S&D, Germany) is the Chair of the International Trade Committee and Co-Chair of the UK Contact Group.