Northern Ireland news

Republic's government supports EU office in Belfast

The European Commission office in Belfast closed in January.

THE Republic's government has thrown its support behind an EU office in Belfast.

A request from the EU to open a new office has been turned down by the British government.

It followed the closure of the European Commission's representation in Belfast at the end of January.

The EU has argued that maintaining an office in Belfast is important to ensure the Irish protocol is being properly implemented.

Under the protocol, checks and controls must be carried out on goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland to ascertain whether they are at risk of entering the EU's single market.

The EU wants a physical presence in the north so it can oversee the protocol regime.

However, the British government regards the request as contrary to the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement and an infringement of sovereignty.

This week, it sent a second letter to the EU turning down its Belfast request.

It has now been reported that the Republic regards an EU office in Northern Ireland as "logical" according to the needs of the protocol.

It added that the office would be a reflection of the EU's "ongoing support" for the peace process.

Officials made an intervention on the issue yesterday during the first meeting of an EU-UK technical committee which was set up to implement the protocol on Northern Ireland.

An Irish official told the video conference that an EU office in no way undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

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Northern Ireland news