EU, UK hold fresh talks on Northern Ireland Protocol

The EU and UK on Monday held fresh talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol after they last met on Jan. 9.

"The two sides discussed the range of existing challenges over the last two years and the need to find solutions together to tackle comprehensively the real-life concerns of all communities in Northern Ireland and protect both Northern Ireland's place in the UK's internal market and the integrity of the EU's Single Market," the two sides said in a joint statement.

It came after the meeting between British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic. Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris also joined them via video conference.

During the talks, they agreed to continue work "in a constructive and collaborative spirit" for potential solutions as well as take careful account of each other's legitimate interests.

Northern Ireland Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol necessitates border checks on any animal and plant-based products, including frozen meat and processed meat products before their transport to Northern Ireland, which is aligned with EU rules and regulations.

The protocol creates a de facto trade border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The UK left the bloc on Jan. 31, 2020 as a result of a 2016 referendum that ended the country’s more than 40-year-long membership in the European club.

The agreement signed by the sides included the Northern Ireland Protocol, which practically avoided a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The protocol has been a point of disagreement between the sides.

Source: Anadolu Agency