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EU to finalise N. Ireland package next week, eyes year-end resolution

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The European Commission will finalise next week a package of measures it believes can lead to a resolution of problems with the trading situation of Northern Ireland by the end of the year or early in 2022, a senior EU official said on Thursday.

Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said at a seminar on Northern Ireland that the EU executive aimed to complete its work on the package by the middle of next week to provide solutions to the most recurring problems.

“I think we will have very intense talks throughout the rest of October and November and I think it’s in the best interest of both of us that we will try to find a reasonable solution before the end of the year, early next year,” he said.

Britain and the European Union both need to be ready to compromise on resolving the trading situation of Northern Ireland and London’s threat to trigger a suspension of parts of the Brexit divorce deal would not be helpful, he added.

“A lot has been said by the UK politicians about the possibility of the UK triggering article 16. I do not think that this has been helpful. It distracts us from working together to find solutions,” European Commission vice-president told the seminar about the protocol on Northern Ireland.

“It has taken us five long years to get where we are today. So it is clear that there are no quick, easy-fix solutions to what is a extremely complex situation,” he said, adding practical solutions could be found if the spirit of compromise was mutual.

Photo – European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic . EPA-EFE/YVES HERMAN / POOL

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