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European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said the bloc had proposed a package of bespoke solutions in an attempt to solve some of the most pressing issues raised in meetings with Lord Frost. These are the supply of medicines, checks on goods and simplification of east west trade in terms of customs. Mr Sefcovic said while giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Executive Committee: “Our proposal will deliver significant changes, they amount to a new model for the implementation of the protocol and can deliver a real difference for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“We made an important move towards the UK with far reaching proposals for solutions, we need the UK government to reciprocate this now, we have no time to lose, and what is most pressing is the need to ensure continued supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
“We have put the solutions on the table, we have been listening carefully to the pharmaceutical industry.
“I made a promise during my visit to Belfast in September where I said I would do whatever it takes to solve this very important issue, including amending our own rules, and I will keep my word and our UK partners know that.”
The European Commission vice president insisted he wanted to “reaffirm the EU’s overarching objective to establish a positive and stable relationship with the United Kingdom”.
He said: “We have been showing flexibility and creativity in finding solutions within the framework of the protocol.”
Mr Sefcovic also acknowledged the Northern Ireland Protocol is “not perfect” but added it is the “best response to the UK’s decision to withdraw from EU and the form of Brexit the Government has chosen”.
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