Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, argued that the European Union needs to recognize that the Northern Ireland Protocol has “failed.”
He was speaking shortly before attending a virtual meeting with Vice-President Maroš Šefchovic of the European Commission.
The protocol, negotiated as part of the Brexit settlement to avoid the harsh borders of the Irish islands, is at the top of the agenda.
Union members strongly oppose additional checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK as they undermine the union.
Major supermarkets on the weekend ran into fear of impacting supply lines to the region at the end of various check grace periods.
“The EU needs to be aware that the Protocol has failed, which poses a very serious problem in terms of trade barriers and trade distortions between the UK and our largest market, Northern Ireland.” Jeffrey told the BBC.
“Certainly, not only was there a trade shift that Northern Ireland companies now have to place their supply chains in the Republic of Ireland, but the EU uses a grace period, contrary to what the Protocol actually states. The Republic of Ireland is then working to attract Northern Ireland companies to use them as a supply chain, which the British government will take steps to remedy any disruption to the deal. It is against the content of the Protocol because of the possibility.
“It [the protocol] It has a negative impact on our economy and, of course, basically our relations with the rest of the UK. “
Jeffrey said he hopes the EU will agree to negotiate a new agreement that “respects Northern Ireland’s position in the UK’s domestic market.”
“If that doesn’t happen, the UK has the right to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows trade transformation and unilateral action to correct its impact on our economy and society. I think it’s within the limits of, “he said. ..
“If the EU is not ready to admit the failure of the Protocol, I think the UK has the right to take unilateral action in such a situation.”
Jeffrey also accused the EU of “destabilizing and weakening” the power-sharing arrangement in Stormont by Northern Ireland politicians who had no say in the post-Brexit arrangement.
Last week, DUP launched seven tests on the protocol.
This includes compatibility with the promise that there will be no checks for any kind of goods sent from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland and the Act of Union that all regions of the United Kingdom should be on an equal footing with respect to trade. I will.