Brexit Deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol Is Only Solution, Von Der Leyen Says

The Brexit agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol is the only way to manage the competing needs of the U.K. and the European Union, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on a visit to Dublin.

The protocol is “the only solution we have found with the U.K. after discussing that over years,” she told reporters at a joint press conference with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin. “It’s the only solution to protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market,” she said.

The protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs area and much of the single market. That has become a flashpoint in the months since the deal was agreed, with the British government demanding changes to ease checks on goods moving to the region from the rest of the U.K.

The European Commission has “shown huge flexibility and creativity and pragmatism,” around the matter, Von der Leyen said. “I cannot imagine that our British friends will not show the same flexibility and the same pragmatism.”

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