The DUP has stated that the Brexit deal reached between the UK and the EU harms Northern Ireland and that Brussels must admit that it has failed.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said there is “increasing consensus” that the Northern Ireland protocol has failed after meeting with EU Ambassador to the UK, Joao Vale de Almeida, and Lord Frost, the DUP’s leader. Sir Jeffrey called on the EU to change the deal or risk damaging the Belfast Agreement because of its harm on Northern Ireland.
Due to its insistence on implementing the Protocol and its ramifications for Northern Ireland, he also questioned whether the EU actually wants to keep the peace deal.
Indeed, Sir Jeffrey asserted that several parties that had insisted on the Protocol’s full implementation had now conceded it was unsustainable.
According to the News Letter, he stated: “The Government recognises the conditions exist for Article 16 to be triggered.”
“The Northern Ireland Protocol is damaging Northern Ireland economically and constitutionally.”
“It is damaging the Belfast Agreement – the same deal the European Union say they want to protect. The Protocol is putting future progress in Northern Ireland in jeopardy.”
“Whilst timelines are progress, this is a time for action as every day is causing further damage politically and economically.”
“There is a growing acceptance that the Protocol has failed and change is required.”
“Even some parties who were recently demanding ‘rigorous implementation’ of the Protocol have accepted it is not sustainable.”
“Whilst there have been signs of movement on the part of the EU, now is the time for action and real progress.”
“Further delay only harms the people of Northern Ireland who are faced with reduced choice on the shelves and higher prices at the till.”
“Whilst we recognise the need for arrangements that can protect the EU Single Market, our priority is to secure the integrity of the UK internal market.”
“This must be recognised and protected in any new arrangements. If the European Union is serious about protecting the Belfast Agreement, then they must accept that the Irish Sea border must go.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol was established to protect the Good Friday Agreement and prevent the establishment of a hard border on the island.
Despite being in the UK customs territory, Northern Ireland was admitted to the EU’s single market. This means that items going from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland must be inspected.
In view of these concerns, the UK has stated that it intends to invoke Article 16 of the Brexit agreement. If the Brexit deal causes undue hardship, any party can take unilateral action.
Speaking at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester this week, Lord Forst warned that if the EU does not adjust its stance on the Protocol, the government may use the tool.
Until now, the EU has refused to budge on its stance on the agreement, insisting that it be fully implemented.