DUP warn Liz Truss of ‘major implications’ unless Protocol progress made

The DUP has announced that Stormont will have “significant ramifications” if the Foreign Secretary does not quickly set a formal deadline for ending negotiations with Brussels on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Days after EU chief negotiator Maros Sefcovic said “London broke a lot of trust in Europe” regarding the protocol, DUP chief Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Liz Truss would have to give a “clear date” for the talks to end.

“We need a clear date now, we need a clear timetable in which to expect real progress or the government to take the necessary action,” Sir Jeffrey told The Sunday Telegraph.

“It is critical that Liz Truss move this process forward quickly and that we make real and meaningful progress on a number of issues, not least the abolition of controls on goods within the UK internal market.”

Sir Jeffrey, at the request of the Telegraph, would not set a reasonable time for Ms. Truss to move forward, but said, “January is going to be an absolutely crucial month.”

“If we do not make rapid and decisive progress, and if one side or the other fails, it will have a significant impact on the stability of Northern Ireland’s political institutions,” added Sir Jeffrey.

European Commission Vice President Mr Sefcovic told German news website Der Spiegel on Thursday that problems with the protocol – a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit – meant Britain was trying to enforce international law break off the arrangement.

Mr Sefcovic told Der Spiegel that he was “pragmatic” that Ms Truss would take responsibility for the post-Brexit negotiations with the EU after Brexit Minister Lord Frost resigned last month.

But he warned that if Ms. Truss were to trigger Article 16, a move that would effectively unilaterally suspend the UK-EU treaty, it would jeopardize “the very basis of the whole deal” between the two sides.

Ms. Truss said she would continue to be willing to invoke Article 16 if the issues are not resolved.

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