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S&Ds on Northern Ireland Protocol agreement: “It’s finally time to make it work”

Date

27 Feb 2023

Sections

Global Europe

The socialists and democrats in the European Parliament welcome the news that an agreement has been reached between the EU and the UK government on rules governing trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The trading arrangement, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, was originally negotiated and signed as part of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. Before scrutinising the detail, the S&D Group welcomes in principle a new agreement on legally and politically sound solutions that work in practice and at the same time fully respect the spirit of the original agreement.

In light of today’s agreement, which follows years of intense negotiations between both sides, S&D MEPs urge the UK government to discard the domestic legislation that would give the UK government the power to unilaterally suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Pedro Silva Pereira, EP Rapporteur for the Implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, said:

“Today's announcement of an agreement in principle for the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is very good news. It was made possible by the flexibility shown by the Commission from the very beginning to reduce unnecessary red tape at the Irish Sea border while firmly safeguarding the integrity of EU’s Single Market. At the same time, it respects our red line of not renegotiating the original Northern Ireland Protocol. In our scrutiny role, we will look very carefully at the detail of the deal so that there are no more breaches from the part of the UK. We expect now the withdrawal of the UK’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. Keeping the Northern Ireland Protocol is crucial to protect the Good Friday Agreement signed 25 years ago.”

Thijs Reuten, S&D spokesperson on relations with the UK, said:

“What we have on the table now is an agreement that protects the integrity of the EU single market, that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland and that protects the Good Friday Agreement. It’s finally time to make it work. Hopefully we can leave the dark days of irresponsible Conservative Party infighting and ideological Brexit behind us, which were jeopardising peace and which proved increasingly harmful to the livelihoods and jobs of many UK citizens. We have signed deals before with the UK government so this has been a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy’. Clearly what’s important is to have workable arrangements that both sides can fully implement, all the while respecting the spirit of the original Withdrawal Agreement. We now expect the UK government to stick to its word and to implement this agreement for the sake of citizens and businesses on both sides.”

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