King Charles was given an update on the Northern Ireland Protocol row yesterday. Story from the Express
There was hope of a breakthrough in a Brexit row over customs checks last night after King Charles was told by politicians they were optimistic matters would “progress”. The new monarch spoke to the leader of the DUP about the Northern Ireland Protocol while on a visit to the province yesterday.
He visited Hillsborough Castle for a reception paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Speaking to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson about the European Union he asked about the DUP’s opposition to the Protocol.
The party has refused to enter the devolved power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein until its concerns over the international agreement are resolved. Unionists say customs checks imposed on goods crossing the Irish Sea from Britain are undermining Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to King Charles yesterday, Sir Jeffrey said there are positive sounds coming from the EU side and that he was hopeful matters would “progress”.
His comments were made after European Commission vice president Faros Sefcovic appear to cave to Britain’s demands earlier this week. The eurocrat suggested the number of checks taking place on goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland could be reduced to just a few lorries a day.
Mr Sefcovic said under his proposals the trade border that has effectively been imposed down the Irish Sea as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol would be “invisible”. Physical checks would only be made when there was reasonable suspicion of illegal trade smuggling, illegal drugs, dangerous toys or poisoned food, he vowed.
“If the data are downloaded into the system, when the goods are put on the ferry from Britain… I believe that we can remotely process them while sailing to Northern Ireland,” Mr Sefcovic told the Financial Times.
“It could be resolved very, very quickly if we get the input from our UK counterparts.”
Continue reading the full Story: Britain on brink of breakthrough with EU in Brexit talks after King told of ‘progress’