NI still an attractive investment location despite protocol - Foster

27 Février, 2021, 00:27 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Loyalist graffiti protesting Brexit border checks in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol is painted on a wall in the harbor town of Larne Northern Ireland. | REUTERS

The EU's insistence on Britain honouring its withdrawal treaty has left the British province of Northern Ireland within the EU's single market and put a customs border in the Irish Sea dividing the province from mainland Britain.

Northern Ireland's first minister said she did not have "high expectations [beforehand]. given the attitude of the European Commission thus far", but was still shocked by Brussels' "stubborn and inflexible response" to issues surrounding the protocol.

On a day when the Stormont Executive published a new post-Covid economic recovery strategy, Mrs Foster was asked at a press conference whether global investors should think twice about locating in Northern Ireland if the problems associated with the arrangements were as dire as she and other unionists were warning.

She said she looks forward to working with Mr Gove's successor David Frost "in trying to find a replacement to the protocol which, of course, the protocol itself makes space for under Article 13, 8 of the protocol".

Foster, who attended the meeting, told UTV television there was "no breakthrough and I can't say I am surprised given the attitude of the European Union to the protocol".

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"But you know I'm not going to be blind to the fact that our main market is being stopped from unfettered access at the moment, and we need to sort that out".

The UK has agreed to the EU's request for an extension on its parliament's ratification of the Brexit deal.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has suggested previously that he is in favour of a veterinary deal with the United Kingdom to solve some of these issues.

"I think what's really, really important for us as political leaders is to work on making the protocol work", she said.

"It was very clear from the discussions that there was a recognition, particularly given the recent engagement with the local business community and civic society, that there are issues that need to be resolved, but both sides committed to try and define practical solutions and that's where everyone needs to be focused right now".

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