Tone Shifting on Brexit Protocol Negotiations, Donohoe Says

There has been a “shift in tone” in talks between the U.K. and EU on the Brexit trade agreement’s Northern Ireland protocol, Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe said, as a deadline nears for more checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

There are “some signs of a shift in tone, regarding where we are at the moment,” Donohoe said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We do need to implement the protocol that was agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom,” he added.

The U.K. has sought to extend an grace period, due to end June 30, on checks for chilled meats transported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, which the EU is considering. If it grants the extension it would put an end to what has been dubbed the ‘sausage war’ for now.

“The European Union will work as hard as it can to find areas of flexibility and compromise and imagination within” the protocol, he said. “It is a critical part of our agreements.”

Donohoe, who is also president of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, reiterated he expected a deal on international corporate tax reform to be agreed later this year. Ireland is “well prepared for this,” he said.

Donohoe expects euro area inflation to “converge back to what we would expect” by 2023.

“We need to monitor it carefully but if I look at the hierarchy of issues that we have at the moment, there are other things that we really have to focus on,” Donohoe said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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