A negotiated solution between the UK and the European Union is the only way to resolve the impasse on the Northern Ireland Protocol, according to an Irish MEP.

UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, yesterday (Tuesday, May 17) announced the British government’s intention to introduce legislation to make changes to the protocol in the coming weeks.

“Our preference remains the negotiated solution with the EU. And in parallel with the legislation being introduced, we remain open to further talks if we can achieve the same outcome through negotiated settlement,” Truss said.

Liz Truss Northern Ireland Protocol
Liz Truss. Image: UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Facebook

Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey, who sits on the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, has urged the British government to think about the consequences of sowing division in Europe at a time of war.

“Any moves to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol and break international law would be music to the ears of the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin who would seize on divisions within the western alliance.

“I am urging the British government to step back from the brink and re-engage with the EU,” the Midlands North-West MEP said.

“The Foreign Secretary says her preference is for a negotiated solution so now is the time to get back around the talks table and end this Brexit saga once and for all.

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve stability and predictability,” Markey continued.

“I am confident that solutions can be found to some of the technicalities around the protocol and I hope the British government takes a closer look at the package of proposals brought forward by the European Commission last year,” he said.

The MEP agreed with EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic that there is further potential to be explored.

“Although trust has been damaged further by today’s announcement, the EU is still willing to listen.

“Ireland continues to have the full solidarity and support of all EU member states on this matter,” Markey concluded.