irishtimes– Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned that the EU was very close to refusing the latest demands from the British government over Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol.
Each time that the European Union comes forward with new proposals over the Northern Ireland protocol, “they are dismissed by the UK” before they were published, he told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.
“This has been the position all year, each time that the European Union comes forward with new ideas, new proposals to try to solve problems, they’re dismissed before they’re released and that’s happening again this week, but this week it’s even more serious.”
The protocol left Northern Ireland under some EU trade rules after Brexit to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. Border checks on goods moving to Northern Ireland from Britain have angered unionists and led to a threat from the UK to suspend the arrangement.
Mr Coveney said that European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefcovic and his negotiating team on behalf of the EU had been working for weeks, if not months, preparing the package due to be launched on Wednesday dealing with difficulties caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.