We need to see intensified EU-UK negotiations providing outcomes – Beattie

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We need to see intensified EU-UK negotiations providing outcomes – Beattie

Following the joint statement from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and EU Commission Vice–President Maroš Šefčovič, Ulster Unionist Party Leader Doug Beattie MC MLA said:

“Whilst it is welcome that Liz Truss and Maroš Šefčovič have had their first face-to-face meeting in a cordial atmosphere, from the 24th January onwards we need to see more intensity and a laser-like focus on outcomes with clearly defined proposals.

"The Northern Ireland Protocol needs to be replaced with a solution that works for everybody. What we have at the minute is feast or famine where some businesses are benefitting from the Protocol while other businesses are on their knees. That is not acceptable.

“As I said at my Party Conference back in October, there should be no border in the Irish Sea. However there are solutions. On trade we can simply open a virtual red lane, green lane system for goods coming to Northern Ireland. If they are coming from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and they are not leaving Northern Ireland, they do not need to be checked. If they are going on to the EU, then there will need to be checks to provide reassurance to the EU about the security of their single market.

“There are other issues we have to deal with as well. We have to deal with the issue of the democratic deficit which has been forgotten about during these negotiations.

“The Ulster Unionist Party believes in engagement, positive solutions, speaking to people and coming up with ideas that can fix the problems we face. That`s why we have repeatedly provided ideas and published documents outlining potential solutions to the EU and UK Government, some of which appear in the UK Government`s Command Paper. That is the way confident unionism should present itself. What we shouldn`t do is just duck down into the trenches and hide, with threats to pull down devolved government because that will help nobody and would be another strategic error for those of us who wish to promote and strengthen Northern Ireland`s place within the United Kingdom.”