DUP Dismiss EC Changes To Protocol As 'Superficial'

The DUP has dismissed the latest proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol from the European Commission(EC) as "superficial" and with "even more strings attached".

Responding to the EC announcement of a series of 'flexibilities' toward the implementation of the Protocol, party Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said: "While these measures may temporarily assuage some concerns, the reality is that they are superficial and come with even more strings attached.

"The DUP is clear that nothing short of fundamental and lasting change to the current arrangements should be tolerated. Solutions which address the symptoms rather than the cause of the current disruption are doomed to fail.

"The status quo leaves local businesses exposed to any new barriers to trade with Great Britain if and when the UK and EU rulebooks change in years to come. In this context the flexibilities announced today would offer little certainty or protection.
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"There is a need for a durable alternative to the current Protocol which avoids a cycle of repeated renegotiation within a failed framework. Ultimately East-West trading relationships and the principle of cross-community consent must be restored if we are to prevent further economic carnage and preserve the basis for political stability.

"The Government's command paper is a welcome acknowledgement of the serious economic, social and political disruption ushered in by the Protocol and ongoing threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom and its internal market. The focus now must be on expeditious delivery of the principles and objectives it contains.

"The threshold for robust action has long been exceeded. As more and more internal UK trade is diverted to the EU single market, it is imperative that the Government rejects any further attempts in Brussels to denigrate the legitimate concerns of businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland via sticking plasters and stalling tactics.

"This should mean setting a deadline for the conclusion of any renegotiation of the Protocol and thereafter committing to unilateral steps to restore the territorial, economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom without further delay."

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