The UK statements about today’s talks in the Joint Committee with the EU, principally on the NI Protocol.
No breakthroughs, but no breakdown either. But the issues are now becoming urgent and we now need to find solutions.
The Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee met in London today. Lord Frost and Vice-President Šefčovič commended the extensive technical discussions that have already taken place on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
The UK set out the extensive steps already taken to operate the Protocol, both by the UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, and by businesses across the UK.
The UK made clear its continued commitment to constructive engagement in order to find pragmatic solutions that ensure the Protocol operates in a way that safeguards the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions, minimises its impact on the day-to-day lives of communities in Northern Ireland, and maintains the integrity of the EU’s Single Market. The UK will continue to put forward detailed proposals, as we have throughout this year, and looks forward to discussing any proposals the EU may put forward.
There is an urgent need for further discussions in order to make real progress, particularly to avoid disruption to critical supplies such as medicines.
The UK’s assessment of the state of play is as follows.
The UK is concerned that substantive progress has not yet been made in many areas, notably:
In the following areas, whilst progress has not yet been made, the UK has been led to understand that further proposals will be received from the EU:
Finally, there has been some progress towards solutions on the following limited areas:
The UK will continue to work actively to find solutions. If solutions cannot be found, the Government will of course continue to consider all options available for safeguarding peace, prosperity and stability in Northern Ireland.
The Joint Committee also discussed the ongoing implementation of citizens’ rights for persons eligible under the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK set out the continued success of the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, where over 5 million applications have been concluded, underlined its determination to respect EU citizens’ rights, and urged the EU and Member States to do likewise as regards UK citizens within the EU.