UK Command Paper must be a central part of negotiations - Beattie

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UK Command Paper must be a central part of negotiations - Beattie

“Today is a step forward, but there remains a long way to go. We were told the Protocol negotiations could not be reopened, but we have now proven otherwise. This has been achieved through negotiation, not threats; through engagement not disengagement. The fact that the EU recognises that the Protocol isn`t working and needs substantial change is a positive development.

“However, I am genuinely disappointed by what I heard from European Commission Vice-President Maros Šefčovič and the supporting non-papers. Expectations were raised, but the proposals do not match them.

“The EU proposals can only be a starting point and in that we accept good faith. The UK Government has provided a way forward in its Command Paper and that must be a central part of any future and substantive negotiations from this point onwards. 

“There must be time and space for these negotiations to take place, but the language of these negotiations must change. 

“Treating Great Britain as a third country in terms of Northern Ireland`s position within the United Kingdom is not acceptable. We can never agree to that. Medicines should not form part of the Protocol. We are in problem solving mode, but this is not the solution.

“I`ll be meeting Maros Šefčovič on Thursday and I`ll be going through his proposals in detail outlining the concerns that I and many others have.