Arlene Foster criticises EU over Northern Ireland Protocol
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Writing on Twitter @Danjsalt said there were “literally no Unionist parties” who didn’t support action being taken about the protocol. He was responding to reports that Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie had supported the Government acting unilaterally to change the protocol.
He said: “Wow missed this. Literally no Unionist parties left who don’t support action.
“The EU and Ireland have really screwed this up.”
Although the more hard line Unionist parties such as the Democratic Unionist Party( DUP) and Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) have vehemently opposed the protocol, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has up to now taken a more moderate view.
However Mr Beattie said it was “deeply regretful” that the current crisis over the protocol had occurred.
However he added that the UUP had warned London and Brussels that if action wasn’t taken before the recent Northern Ireland Assembly elections the situation would become “unsalvageable”.
He said: “It is deeply regretful that we have come to this point, but the stand-off cannot continue, the EU needs to change its mandate.
“If they are in agreement that the landing zone is removing checks on goods which are coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and staying here, then why have they not reached a break-through yet?
“We warned both the EU and the UK Government that if action wasn’t taken before the election, what would come after might be unsalvageable.
“We did so last year and again this year in London and Brussels. Nothing was done.
“The people of Northern Ireland are now faced with no functioning government for an unknown period in the midst of a cost of living crisis and unprecedented pressures on our health service.
“Throughout this process we have acknowledged the EU’s right to protect its single market, but our foremost concern is that of Northern Ireland.
“We have been clear that an internal border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is totally unacceptable.
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“We have produced solutions that could have seen this resolved before now and in a way that didn’t require unilateral action.
“They (the EU and UK) should have got on with it before now.”
Mr Beattie also emphasised the Protocol and the difficulties it is creating for businesses in Northern Ireland is “not simply a unionist concern” as it affects everyone in the Province.
The Northern Ireland Protocol creates an invisible trading border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Goods are checked on arrival in Northern Ireland rather than on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to ensure British goods meet EU requirements before they pass into the Republic of Ireland.
The DUP have reiterated that they won’t participate in a power sharing government at Stormont until the protocol is removed, potentially paralysing the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly.
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