SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that proposals outlined by European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič aimed at resolving the challenges associated with the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol represent a fair accommodation and has urged political leaders to embrace them.
The Foyle MP said that the package of measures delivers the changes that businesses in Northern Ireland have asked for and has called on political unionism to detach itself from unreachable demands set by brexiteers in London.
On Wednesday, the EU published its plan of how the protocol could be amended – cutting the number of spot checks by 80% and also halving the amount of customs paperwork.
Said Mr Eastwood: “The proposals presented by the European Commission are significant, they go further than many expected and clearly demonstrate that European leaders are stretching themselves in the interests of people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“I welcome the proposals made by Maroš Šefčovič because they show that he has been listening to the concerns of people in the North, not the fantasy red lines drawn by the British Government.
“I would encourage political leaders, and particularly the leaders of unionism, to reflect on the very serious efforts made by the European Commission to ease the challenges with trade flows between Northern Ireland and Britain as well as addressing their concerns about democratic deficits.
“The DUP, in particular, need to decide if they’re on the side of people and businesses here or in the pocket of Boris Johnson.
“No one, save perhaps for Jim Allister, has raised the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice as an issue because its remit is so confined to the operation of European Internal Market law that it poses no threat to prosperity here.
“Jeopardising our access to the European Single Market on the basis of nativist fuelled rhetoric about European courts would be a serious mistake.
“There is now a clear landing zone that will address the protocol challenges, allow us to maximise the opportunities and, most importantly, expend political energy dealing with the crisis in our health service, our crumbling schools estate and managing the pandemic. We need to grasp that opportunity.”Tags: