Philippe Lamberts on Northern Ireland protocol
The Greens/EFA group has welcomed the EU's protocol on Northern Ireland, published today.
The protocol sets out a fall-back position for what will happen if the UK and EU fail to reach an agreement that would be consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland would in effect remain in the Customs Union and would continue to operate within the Single Market for goods (but not services).
Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts comments:
"The EU has been crystal clear that the Good Friday Agreement must be respected. We can never allow politics to take precedence over peace.
“If Prime Minister May has an alternative up her sleeve, we look forward to hearing it. But given the continued lack of clarity surrounding the UK’s position, and the fact that senior members of Theresa May's cabinet still struggle to accept the seriousness of the Irish question, there is a clear need to set out protections.
"Nothing in this agreement should come as a surprise. This is exactly what the UK signed up to back in December and they cannot now feign surprise at being asked to honour it."