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6/4, 8:22 AM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Report: EU pessimistic about breakthrough on NI protocol

The European Union is growing "increasingly pessimistic" about reaching a breakthrough in the negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol from the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement amid fears the United Kingdom is trying to undermine it, RTE's Tony Connelly tweeted on Friday, despite earlier reports of a "broad progress" in the talks.

According to the sources familiar with the matter, the bloc fears the forthcoming meeting of the EU–UK Joint Committee will be "more a showdown" of London's "continued sniping" and attempts to delay the implementation of the protocol. Brussels's representative in the committee, Maros Sefcovic, reportedly said the European Union is "running out of patience," especially after Northern Irish Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots announced another extension to the grace period for checks on some goods going to the territory, and is considering retaliatory measures.

"We can't let the UK destroy the protocol with a thousand cuts," an EU diplomat told RTE. "If they continue on like this, bit by bit, it will wear away, and they will end up with permanent derogations – or they think they will." Earlier, Sefcovic noted all the proposals for a solution to the matter are "coming from our side."

Breaking the News / JR