Potential benefits of Northern Ireland Protocol emphasised to Stormont MLAs
The potential benefits of the Northern Ireland Protocol have been emphasised to Stormont MLAs.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic stressed that the dual access to sell unfettered within the UK and EU markets, which is offered under the protocol, made Northern Ireland a “unique place to invest”.
Unionists in Northern Ireland have been strongly opposed to the additional checks placed on goods arriving in the region as part of the protocol, claiming it places a border in the Irish Sea within the UK.
Demonstrations have taken place against the protocol and legal challenges have been taken against it.
Speaking to a committee in the Stormont Assembly on Monday, Mr Sefcovic said Europe has been “gravely concerned at negative rhetoric about the protocol”, describing it as “an instrument to protect peace and stability”.
He said the protocol offered Northern Ireland free access to twin markets that, when combined, represented the potentially the biggest purchasing power in the world.
“The fact that Northern Ireland would be in this unique situation, having this ample access to the both markets of the UK and the EU, this we should not forget is access to 500 million potential customers with what might be the biggest purchasing power in the world,” he told Stormont MLAs.
“So these are the two markets which have no comparative parallel in the world.
“Not only the 500 million but the strength of the purchasing power.
“The fact is the EU is in most cases the number one or number two trading partner for all economies, we are definitely number one or number two in all markets if it comes for foreign direct investment and the same applies to the destinations.
“So I think it’s a huge advantage that Northern Ireland has access to both markets cost free, which I think offers unique opportunities for different business models, for distribution hubs and for all the projects for the investment which have been already gathered up in the pipeline of projects by Invest Northern Ireland.”
My goal has always been, and continues to be, to move decisively on to a result-oriented path to permanent solutions, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland and for peace and stability
Mr Sefcovic said the EU approach was based on “pragmatism, stability, and constructive engagement”.
“My goal has always been, and continues to be, to move decisively on to a result-oriented path to permanent solutions, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland and for peace and stability,” he said.