Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has welcomed the commitments made by the European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič during his visit to the North this week.
The Executive Office Minister said:
“The positive engagements by European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič with political parties, the business community and civic society in recent days have been welcomed by all in the North who want genuine progress on the smooth operation of the Protocol, negotiated between the EU and British government.
“It was particularly welcome that the EU expressed clear commitment to resolving outstanding issues on medicines by outlining the measures it is prepared to take. These build on the EU’s paper at the end of July. The Vice President has also invited our business organisations to submit proposals to the EU on how trade and business can be conducted more smoothly on an East/West basis.
“Now the British Government must demonstrate the political will, and properly engage through the Joint Committee framework with the EU, to contribute towards solutions on the issues which are impacting upon citizens’ lives and businesses in the North as a result of Brexit.
“I warmly welcome Vice President Šefčovič’s expressed support for an inter-parliamentary group between the European Parliament and the Stormont Assembly. It is critically important that our democratic institutions have direct access to Europe in relation to the operation of the Protocol, and on other matters.
“This is an important first step towards giving the North a real say on matters that affect us. A strong working relationship between our power sharing administration and Assembly with the EU is key to ensuring that Protocol arrangements are durable and practical.
“The Protocol provides unprecedented access to both the EU and British markets, and offers our economy and businesses a very unique opportunity to attract new foreign investment and support existing jobs.
“There is no credible alternative to the Protocol. It is not going to be renegotiated. All of our political leaders should be working collectively to fully develop the opportunities that it offers. This is not a time for reckless and irresponsible rhetoric.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work in cooperation, and deliver mature, measured and responsible leadership which ensures that the challenges facing our society arising from Brexit are fully addressed.”