New hope for the Northern Ireland Protocol?
EU chief negotiator Maroš Šefčovič and on the British side UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris reportedly reached an agreement on sharing data about the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at a meeting on Monday. In a joint statement the deal was hailed as a "new basis" for talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Commentators are optimistic.
Conciliatory approach moves things forward
The BBC is cautiously optimistic:
“Remember, last summer the European Commission was moving to sue the UK as the government pursued plans to unilaterally start scrapping parts of the protocol.The atmosphere has radically improved since then, with Rishi Sunak clearly preferring a more conciliatory approach. The fact that Brussels and London are now prepared to say, in public, here's something important and specific we agree on shouldn't be underplayed. In this context, it's been rare. ... There are still plenty of potential pitfalls but things are, finally, moving forward and both sides are clearly trying to give the talks fresh momentum.”
Squaring the circle seems possible
A willingness to compromise can't do miracles but it can lead to progress, The Irish Times hopes:
“The solution to the current issues lies in the EU being as flexible as possible in relation to checks on goods entering Northern Ireland and the UK accepting that some level of controls is essential. ... The carrot for Northern Ireland is free access for goods to both the EU and UK markets - the price is some inevitable complexity for businesses. No one has come up with a better way forward. The protocol, while far from perfect, is the only obvious way to square the post-Brexit circle.”