Varvitsiotis: Greece welcomes EU-UK agreement on Northern Ireland

Varvitsiotis: Greece welcomes EU-UK agreement on Northern Ireland

Greece welcomes Monday’s agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom on Northern Ireland, Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis has said.

“It represents a positive development and it is important that after a long round of negotiations between the two sides, logic and realism prevailed,” he underlined.

Highlighting the importance of the agreement, the alternate foreign minister said that its individual provisions solve technical problems stemming from Brexit and concerned trade while opening a new page in the relations between the United Kingdom and the EU.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Northern Ireland on Tuesday to sell his new deal with the EU to ease post-Brexit trade, a measure he hopes will finally break the political deadlock in the province.

Sunak is trying to secure the backing of all sides in Northern Ireland so he can reset relations with the EU – and the US – without angering lawmakers in his own party and in Belfast who are most wedded to Brexit.

His deal seeks to resolve the tensions caused by the Northern Ireland protocol, a complex agreement which set the trading rules for the British-governed region that London agreed before it left the EU in 2020, but now says are unworkable.

In order to keep open the politically-sensitive border with EU-member Ireland, Northern Ireland remained in the EU single market for goods, raising the prospect it would slowly diverge from the rest of the United Kingdom, fueling fears in unionist communities.

Sunak said his agreement, the Windsor Framework, would strengthen the union, scrap rules that affected everything from the import of sausages to sandwiches, and give lawmakers on the ground a greater say over the rules and regulations they take from Brussels.

The success of the deal is likely to hinge on whether it convinces the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to end its boycott of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing arrangements. These were central to the 1998 peace deal which mostly ended three decades of sectarian and political violence in Northern Ireland. [AMNA, Reuters]

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