Brexit: Lord Frost says a ‘big gap’ remains between UK and EU over Northern Ireland Protocol
There is a “lot of work to do” and a “big gap” remains between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Brexit minister has said.
Speaking as he arrived in Brussels for talks with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic, Lord Frost told reporters he was “looking forward to good discussions”.
“There’s a lot of work to do because there are gaps between us,” he said.
Referring to the EU’s proposals to vastly cut customs checks and paperwork associated with the protocol, Lord Frost added that the bloc has “definitely made an effort in pushing beyond where they typically go in these areas and we’re quite encouraged by that”.
But he continued: “There is still quite a big gap and that’s what we’ve got to work through today and in the future.”
He reiterated the UK’s view that the role of the European Court of Justice should be removed from the protocol, saying: “The governance arrangements as we have them don’t work.
“We need to take the court out of the system as it is now and we need to find a better way forward.”
The protocol is a key part of the Brexit deal struck between London and Brussels and is designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
As part of the arrangement, Northern Ireland remains under some EU rules and there are checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
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But having negotiated and signed up to the arrangement, the UK has now put forward proposals to change it.
Earlier this week, the EU proposed to cut 80% of checks on some goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in an effort to defuse the row over the protocol.
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