The European Union and Britain have reached an agreement on the specific question of the EU’s access to British information technology (IT) systems, as part of talks to resolve issues stemming from the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The agreement was critical to further talks on the trading regulations, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic and Britain’s foreign secretary James Cleverly said in a joint statement.
The pair met in London on Monday to discuss ongoing issues surrounding the protocol.
The protocol was agreed as part of Britain’s negotiations when leaving the EU, effectively leaving Northern Ireland within the single market for goods to avoid a hard-border on the island of Ireland.
This has necessitated checks since January 2021 on some goods coming to the North from Britain, but the UK has subsequently sought to rewrite the deal to reduce those barriers and promote the free flow of goods.
The EU has long sought live or semi-live data on goods travelling from Britain to the North in order to work out whether to carry out checks on arrival.
Britain has built a new system to provide the EU with real-time customs data relating to the North, safety and security declarations and some transit information, to try to ease EU concerns that goods could enter the Republic without paying EU customs. -Reuters