UNITED KINGDOM: A major breakthrough was initiated as EU and UK negotiators delved into plans to reduce checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in light of resolving the prolonged dispute over the Northern Irish protocol.
The EU and UK made a deal last month on the real-time data sharing of goods that were to be transported across the Great Britain-Northern Ireland border.
The checks on animal health and the agreement on food were “close to being done” in accordance with the deal that would pave the way for making red and green lanes at the Northern Irish ports in order to clearly demarcate the goods that are staying in the region and the goods that are moving south to the EU’s single market, as reported by a senior EU official.
Following previous reports of a customs check breakthrough, the agreement on creating the green and red lanes, as well as its association with food and animal standards, was reported.
This deal would make the UK agree to the EU’s needs to prevent food and animals from Northern Ireland from flowing into the EU’s internal markets through the Irish land border. Food products would have to be marked, and market surveillance would have to be taken by UK authorities to maintain animal and food safety standards.
The vice president of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, said that both parties worked harmoniously to ensure swift passageways.
“Progress is being made, but difficulties remain,” he said, adding, “For us, it is a very clear equation: more and stronger safeguards we can get, more flexibility we can explore.”
The working of the green-lane controls could be more transparent, but it has been discussed thoroughly during negotiations. The issue remains a mystery, even though there has been a notable advancement in customs, food, and animal checks.
Despite the Democratic Unionist Party’s adherence to the protocol, EU officials are sceptical that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can persuade his party to support the protocol.
Last week, British officials rejected possible suggestions on the deal, mentioning that the two sides have yet to find common ground.
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