The eighth meeting of the Specialised Committee on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland was held today via video conference and co-chaired by officials from the UK Government and the European Commission.
A representative from the Northern Ireland Executive also attended as part of the UK delegation in line with the commitment made in the New Decade, New Approach deal.
Further to the last Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting on 9 June, the UK and EU took stock of the outstanding issues raised by both parties.
The UK noted that the underlying issues with the Protocol remained unresolved, particularly regarding the impact of customs and SPS requirements for goods moving from Great Britain but remaining in Northern Ireland, as clearly set out in a letter from the British Retail Consortium to the co-chairs of the Joint Committee. The UK reiterated that the Government would set out its approach to Parliament within the week.
The UK nevertheless welcomed the fact that that agreement was reached on extension of the grace period for the movement of chilled meat products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but noted the importance of finding a permanent solution. The UK also welcomed that the EU had now, after a considerable delay, provided details of their approach on certain discrete issues including medicines and assistance dogs. Further technical discussions are required to establish whether these proposals can successfully address these problems.
The UK and the EU recalled their commitment jointly to engage with business, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland and agreed that this should continue.