Negotiators in Europe (EU) want a proposed measure to help simplify the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – under the Northern Ireland Protocol (NI Protocol) – to be given a legal backing, it has been reported.

Last month, the Commission proposed a number of measures relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol (NI Protocol) in response to difficulties posed by Brexit to people living in Northern Ireland.

The measures would facilitate greater flexibilities in the areas of food, plant and animal health, customs and medicine.

It is understood that this week, the EU proposed that a particular measure – a 50% reduction in paperwork where the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is concerned – should be given legal backing.

The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, maintains that a 50% reduction in red-tape does not go far enough.

How would it work?
The EU has given an example of how this would work in reality. Under the proposal, a truck transporting different food products (i.e. dairy, meat, vegetables) from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will now just need one certificate stating that all goods of different types, class or description satisfy EU legislations. For example, if a lorry transports 100 different food products, only one certificate will be needed instead of 100.

NI Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol was introduced to ease the paradox of Northern Ireland remaining part of the European Single Market, while also retaining access to the UK’s internal market.

However, while the agreement allows goods to leave Northern Ireland for Great Britain, it has meant checks and restrictions apply for goods from Britain entering the region.

Currently, the biggest stumbling blocks of the protocol relate to livestock movements and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods such as seed potatoes and horticultural produce.