Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
As the deputy will be aware, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland forms an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, an international agreement jointly signed by the EU and the UK Government. The Protocol is the joint EU-UK solution to mitigate against the disruption Brexit causes for citizens and businesses on the island of Ireland. As such, negotiations in relation to aspects of the implementation of the Protocol, including the extension of grace periods, are a matter for the EU and the UK Government.
EU-UK relations, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, are a regular feature of the Government and individual Ministers engagement with colleagues from other EU Member States.
Our approach, shared by our EU colleagues, continues to be informed by engagements with people and businesses across Northern Ireland, taking on board their genuine concerns, as we seek realistic and pragmatic solutions. We continue to advocate for a calm, responsible, joint EU-UK approach to the implementation of the Protocol.
The various grace periods were only ever intended as temporary, stop-gap measures to facilitate the implementation of the Protocol. They are not permanent solutions. We continue to encourage the UK to work in partnership with the EU in a spirit of positive and constructive engagement in order to identify pragmatic and sustainable solutions to the outstanding issues around the implementation of the Protocol.