Speaking after the Assembly backed a motion calling for direct dialogue between the Assembly and the European Parliament, Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said:
“I welcome the Assembly’s support for the motion calling for direct dialogue between the Assembly and the European Parliament.
“It is important there is representation of the views of citizens from the north in the European Union institutions in relation to the protocol and broader peace process.
“Sinn Féin consistently raised the need for continued representation throughout the negotiation process.
“We proposed that the additional MEPs allocated to the twenty-six counties post-Brexit be allocated instead to the north of Ireland, however the Irish government rejected this, which was a missed opportunity.
“Since the onset of Brexit we have continued to raise with the Dublin government the need for representation for citizens of the north.
“We have made a number of proposals including observer status for MEPs from the north of Ireland; representation at the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee; the ability of Executive Ministers to participate in Council of Ministers’ meetings (as part of the Irish delegation); and the ability of civil servants from the north to participate in relevant Council working groups.
“Last week the European Commission published a package of proposals on the implementation of the protocol, which included proposals on engagement.
“These proposals would strengthen the participation of business and civic society representatives and political representatives from the north and included a proposal on dialogue with the Assembly.
“It is important that the views of stakeholders and elected representatives are heard in shaping the policy development and legislation relevant to the protocol, and that the impact of EU regulations and policy on the north are understood by the EU institutions and direct dialogue would help to achieve this.
“I have asked the Speaker of the Assembly to write to the President of the European Parliament and the European Commission following the Assembly’s support for today’s motion.”