Huge breakthrough on hated Brexit deal as EU set to announce major change TODAY
EU hits out at Lord Frost's Northern Ireland demands
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The European Union will announce proposals in a bid to remedy friction relating to the flow of medicines from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice President, is expected to announce medicines can continue to flow unimpeded into the country.
Under the protocol, the country remains linked to the EU’s pharmaceutical regulations, meaning medicines will be subject to customs regulation.
Currently, medicines moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are not subject to the regulation due to a “grace period”, which has been indefinitely extended.
Concerns have persisted as many suppliers announced their intention to stop supplying medicines to Northern Ireland after the “grace period” comes to an end.
By the end of August, the health department had been notified that 910 medicines were due to be withdrawn, with a further 2,400 at risk.
Speaking about the new breakthrough, a Brussels source told PA: “We believe the proposals solve all the issues that were raised about medicines.”
The development comes amid reports suggesting the UK’s Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, will drop demands to remove the European Court of Justice’s role in policing the protocol.
According to the FT, the Brexit Minister will tell Mr Sefcovic that governance issues can wait until they have agreed on practical ways to improve the flow of goods between the region and the rest of the UK.
Any new legislation would be subject to ratification by both the European Council and the European Parliament.
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Lord Frost is expected to make a statement on the development later.
Mr Sefcovic and Lord Frost are also expected to speak on the phone ahead of the announcement.
It is understood the Brexit Minister has asked to meet with Northern Ireland’s political parties on Friday, with party leaders anticipating a briefing on the development.
However, the UK and the EU are not expected to come to an agreement on other subjects.
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The Protocol was agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK left the EU.
But, because Northern Ireland remained within the EU’s single market for goods, a border was effectively created between Great Britain and Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea.
The Protocol has come under fire because of border checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which have resulted in delays and supermarket shortages.
Previously, Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, said he was “anxious” to move ahead unilaterally, without the UK’s support, if Britain did not agree an approach, saying that there was “still quite a gap” between the sides.
However, according to Mr Coveney, both teams wanted to avoid “a falling out” over the issue.
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