Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney suggests the UK and EU can reach a protocol agreement this year for Northern Ireland.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney suggests the UK and EU can reach a protocol agreement this year for Northern Ireland.

A deal can be done between Britain and the European Union on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland before the end of the year, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday.

Technical talks resumed in the first week of October for the first time in seven months on the Northern Ireland protocol, the part of the Brexit deal that mandated checks on some goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom due to the province’s open land border with EU member Ireland.

“I think we can do that. I think we can do that before the end of the year,” Coveney, who has played a significant role in negotiations around the issue, said in an interview with Ireland’s Newstalk Radio.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday said he was pleased with the progress made so far.
If Britain shows “real intent” to solve the issue through gestures like the sharing of real-time trade data, the EU will respond with generosity, Coveney said.

The two sides are working to take advantage of a “window of opportunity” created by the delay in Northern Ireland elections until at least March, he said.

A deal could allow for the restoration of power-sharing government in Northern Ireland in time for the 25th anniversary of Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal in early April, Coveney said.

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Source: UK, EU can do deal on Northern Ireland protocol this year – Irish minister

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