London, November 18 (IANS): UK Brexit Minister David Frost has said the country and the European Union (EU) are expected to reach an agreement on changes to the disputed Northern Ireland protocol by Christmas.
“I think it can be done, whether it will be done is another question,” Frost told the BBC, quoted by Xinhua News Agency, after Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the problems with the protocol could be resolved “before Christmas”.
“I would like to move this forward as quickly as possible, I am happy that there is ambition on the EU side from what Simon said,” Frost said, quoted by the BBC.
The question of how goods get from Britain to Northern Ireland is obviously at the heart of the talks and there is no reason why the goods that remain in Northern Ireland have to go through processes, a said Frost.
As part of the Brexit deal, the protocol stipulates that Northern Ireland remains in the EU’s single market and customs union to avoid a hard border between the region and the Republic of Ireland.
However, this leads to a new âregulatoryâ border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Britain and the EU see the protocol change as a long-term solution to post-Brexit trade disruptions in Northern Ireland.
Britain presented its proposals in a government document in July, which observers interpreted as an intention to renegotiate the protocol.
In response, the EU issued its own package to facilitate the movement of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland, including reduced customs formalities, simplified certification and an 80% reduction in product controls. retail for consumers in Northern Ireland.
He said he would ensure an uninterrupted supply of medicines to the people of Northern Ireland, by changing EU rules.
However, the two sides remain poles apart on the more difficult question of the oversight role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland.