The UK’s Brexit Minister David Frost said that talks with the European Union (EU) on the Northern Ireland Protocol did not result in any breakthroughs as tension remained between the two sides on trade.
“No breakthroughs, but no breakdown either. But the issues are now becoming urgent and we now need to find solutions,” Frost tweeted on Wednesday after officials from the two sides met in London ahead of the G7 meetings later this week.
“The UK made clear its continued commitment to constructive engagement in order to find pragmatic solutions that ensure the protocol operates in a way that safeguards the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions, minimises its impact on the day-to-day lives of communities in Northern Ireland, and maintains the integrity of the EU’s Single Market,” Frost said in a statement.
He said the UK will continue to work actively to find solutions.
“If solutions cannot be found, the government will of course continue to consider all options available for safeguarding peace, prosperity and stability in Northern Ireland.”
But UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face pressure from US President Joe Biden at their bilateral meeting ahead of the G7 summit to respect the Good Friday Agreement of which Washington is a guarantor, according to the Times newspaper.
Under the protocol, a part of the post-Brexit trade deal reached between London and Brussels in 2019, food products from the UK to the EU will have to enter through new border control posts at Northern Ireland’s ports.
Northern Ireland will continue to apply EU customs rules at its ports, to allow goods to flow into the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU.
This is known as the Irish sea border, which is a new trade border between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK.