Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of An Taoiseach
In advance of his visit to Northern Ireland, I met with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic for a working dinner in Government Buildings on 8 September.
We had a very good exchange and I warmly welcomed in particular VP Šefcovic’s planned engagement with political, civil society and business representatives in Northern Ireland. His openness to engage was a demonstration of the EU’s wish to hear at first hand and to understand the concerns of the people on the ground.
Subsequently, on 13 October, the European Commission published a far-reaching package of proposals aimed at finding solutions to practical challenges that have arisen in implementing the Protocol.
The Commission has engaged deeply with the issues, with the people, and with businesses in Northern Ireland. The Commission package reflects that engagement and is a serious and considered response to the challenges and concerns that have arisen.
This package is now the subject of ongoing engagement between the EU and UK.
I hope the UK Government gives them the serious attention they deserve and engage positively and constructively with the European Commission.
A positive outcome to those ongoing engagements is in the interests of both the EU and the UK, but most especially of the people and businesses in Northern Ireland.