Sun, 05 Dec 2021

London [UK], October 15 (ANI/Sputnik): A big gap still remains between the United Kingdom and the European Union over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol regulating post-Brexit trade in the UK province, UK Brexit Minister David Frost said on Friday.

"There is still quite a big gap and that's what we've got to work through today and in the future," Frost told reporters upon arriving in Brussels for talks with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic.

As part of the Brexit agreement that came fully into force in January, there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but under the protocol, all goods and animal-based products coming from the rest of the British territories must be checked upon arrival in the UK province to comply with EU sanitary regulations.

The UK government has argued that the protocol is not working, as it causes delays and interruptions to supplies moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and irritates loyalists who believe it affects their place in the union.

On Wednesday, the EU said it could cut checks on food, plants and animals by 80% and paperwork for transport companies in half, prompting Frost's trip to Brussels to discuss the proposal.

Referring to the move, the UK Brexit minister said London was "quite encouraged" by the EU's announcement, but stressed that "there is still quite a big gap".

Frost also confirmed that the role of the European Court of Justice in overseeing the implementation of the protocol will be included in the discussion, as the UK wants it out of the system. (ANI/Sputnik)

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