European Court of Justice “cannot be excluded from agreement with Northern Ireland”

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In an interview with the Evening Standard, Joao Vale de Almeida hit back at Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who earlier insisted “that there should be no role for the ECJ in any part of the UK. .. and that includes Northern Ireland “.

The Ambassador said: “For us it is not even a red line, it is an impossibility to have at the same time the benefit of the access to the single market of goods for Northern Ireland… and to the UK market. No other territory in the world can claim this opportunity.

“If you want to have access, like Northern Ireland, to the single market for goods whose rules you have to obey, you obey the rules. Any conflict that exists in the single market can go all the way to the European Court of Justice… so one goes hand in hand with the other. “

But the deal creates a trade border in the Irish Sea, resulting in costly and time-consuming checks on goods flowing from Britain to Northern Ireland and exacerbating tensions between trade unionists in the region. On Wednesday, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic announced a series of proposals to ease 80% of those controls and remove blockages on the import of chilled meats and medicines.

However, Britain’s demand to end the role of the ECJ in the Protocol and install a new independent arbitrator to rule on trade disputes remains a major stumbling block.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Javid said the UK’s aggressive approach to the talks would continue, insisting Brexit Minister Lord David Frost made it clear in a speech on the protocol in Lisbon on Tuesday that “one of the most important issues is to end the role of the ECJ in Northern Ireland”.

Despite the disagreement over the ECJ, Mr Vale de Almeida told the Standard he was more “a glass half full than half empty” on the prospect of a resolution and insisted that the proposals of the Commission were an important step.

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