SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has pressed the British government on the need for the North to retain the economic benefits provided by the Protocol.
Mr Eastwood was speaking after an SDLP delegation held a virtual meeting with Lord Frost on Wednesday.
The Foyle MP said:
“During our meeting with Lord Forst today I made clear to him the urgent need to sit down with his EU counterparts and reach agreement on the small number of outstanding issues surrounding the Protocol. I also pressed for assurances that the British government won't jeopardise the clear economic benefits the protocol has delivered. Lord Frost acknowledged that businesses here are taking advantage of dual market access.
“The EU has been ambitious in their proposals so far, they have stretched themselves out of a genuine desire to reach agreement and protect the interests of people on this island. Despite posturing and protesting from a small number of unionist politicians the views of people and businesses here have been clear – they want to retain the unique benefits that the Protocol brings us. Triggering Article 16 would be extremely short-sighted and cause the North serious economic harm. Lord Frost met with businesses this week and he must recognise their view that the Protocol should stay.
“People here have long grown weary with the never-ending Brexit saga, the threats and rhetoric must come to an end, and an agreement reached that will benefit everyone in this place. We are in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis in memory, people are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table, our health service is at breaking point and our education system is crumbling. These are the issues people want our politicians to concern themselves with, not constant games and brinkmanship between British government politicians striving to live out their Brexit fantasies through brinkmanship with the EU, which is contributing to instability here.”