The European Union wants the resumption of open discussions on the Northern Irish protocol

The European Union wants the resumption of open discussions on the Northern Irish protocol

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is ready to negotiate Northern Ireland trade deals with Britain, provided talks are constructive and without a pre-determined outcome from London, a senior EU official said on Wednesday. EU.

“Our doors are open to negotiations, but it has to be constructive negotiations and that cannot be done if an outcome is fixed in advance,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said during a meeting. a press conference in Brussels.

The statement comes two days after London’s bill, allowing Britain to scrap some of the post-Brexit customs rules in Northern Ireland, passed the first of many parliamentary tests.

“The result as presented in the bill is totally unacceptable to the European Union because it simply violates international law and the most important agreement we signed just two years ago” , said Maros Sefcovic.

He said the Commission’s proposals to reduce documentation and customs checks for goods traveling from Britain to Northern Ireland provide stability, legal certainty and would prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is a member of the EU and its single market for goods.

London considers these rules on trade in goods, agreed as part of the Brexit deal, to be authoritarian because they effectively place a maritime boundary between British soil and its Northern Irish province.

Concrete solutions to the difficulties are “on the table”, but Britain’s political will is needed to move forward, Maros Sefcovic, who is due to deliver a speech in London later on Wednesday, said.

(Reporting Philip Blenkinsop and Charlotte Van Campenhout; French version Dina Kartit, editing by Kate Entringer)

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