Brussels offers to relax drug rules but fails to unblock impasse on Irish protocol



BRUSSELS, Dec. 17 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The European Commission has offered this Friday to London to relax the rules that affect generic medicines sent from Great Britain to the province of Northern Ireland with the aim of unblocking the application of the Irish protocol negotiated in the framework of Brexit, but the British Government has responded by making it clear that the conditions to break the ‘impasse’ still do not exist.

“What else can we do?”, Maros Sefcovic, the vice president of the Community Executive responsible for relations with the United Kingdom, asked at a press conference in Brussels, after explaining the details of the new proposal and listing other recent concessions that the EU is willing to do in the control of the passage of goods to solve the situation.

The British Government maintains that the conditions it accepted with the protocol are now difficult to comply with and this week it has extended the grace measures it adopted unilaterally to suspend compliance with the agreement. Community sources indicated that the EU made it clear that it did not accept this extension, so studying reactivates the sanctioning file that it kept on hold for the sake of dialogue.

In this context, however, Brussels does not lose hope of unlocking the situation to resolve the dispute and has offered to review the rules affecting the transport of generic drugs to the Irish province to ensure that the supply arrives “at the same time as to the rest “of the British territory, provided that the other party takes measures to ensure that the products do not reach the Single Market.

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“With the possible exception of medicines, I do not believe that the negotiations are still close enough to offer results that can really solve the problems that the protocol presents,” said the British minister who negotiates Brexit, David Frost.

In a statement released at the time the Brussels proposal was known, Frost stressed that the European proposal “only solves certain areas and would not be enough to reduce the bureaucracy suffered by the people of Northern Ireland,” he added.

Sefcovic, however, insists on the offer of dialogue to seek imaginative solutions but makes it clear that they cannot take place outside the framework established by the protocol or leaving aside the powers of the EU Court of Justice, as London claims.

In his opinion, the proposals with which his team is trying to resolve the dispute show that the protocol in question “has the necessary flexibility to function” in the region without creating tension. However, he added, to ensure success it is necessary for the parties to be involved in the same way in the rest of the issues that remain open.

This Friday’s proposal will not only apply to Northern Ireland, but also to three EU countries – Cyprus, Ireland and Malta – with a great historical dependence on generic drugs from the United Kingdom.


www.europapress.es

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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