EU to propose removal of majority of Northern Ireland checks, Coveney says

Eu To Propose Removal Of Majority Of Northern Ireland Checks, Coveney Says
The European Commission will on Wednesday put to the UK a package of measures to ease the transit of goods to Northern Ireland. Photo: PA Images.
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The European Commission will on Wednesday propose the removal of the vast majority of post-Brexit checks on food from Britain to Northern Ireland and a significant reduction in customs controls, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

The sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks required for British goods destined for Northern Ireland and staying there would be dropped if proper sharing of data and labelling was introduced, Simon Coveney told RTÉ.

He also said the EU proposals would make it "crystal clear" that there would be no barriers to medicines coming into Northern Ireland from Britain and that the Brussels would effectively change EU law to solve this problem.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin meanwhile gave his backing to the EU proposals for changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Martin told the Dáil on Wednesday that European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic had worked in “good faith” and “epitomised the spirit of the Commission’s consistent strong support for the Good Friday Agreement”.


He added: “If everyone is operating in good faith, and if the focus is on addressing disruption in trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, then these proposals address the problem and respect the treaties we all agreed to.”

He said he would be “further communicating with the British prime minister”.


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The European Commission will on Wednesday put to the UK a package of measures to ease the transit of goods to Northern Ireland, while stopping short of the overhaul the UK government is demanding of post-Brexit trading rules for the North.

The EU executive's measures are designed to ease customs controls, such as the clearance of meat, dairy and other food products and the flow of medicines to the North from Britain.

However, it will not open up for renegotiation the protocol governing the North's unique trading position, leaving Brussels and London on a potential collision course.

Mr Sefcovic will present the plans to EU countries and to members of the European Parliament on Wednesday afternoon before a news conference scheduled for 5.30pm Irish time.

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