Volte-face: UK indicates the European Court of Justice could have a role in Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK government has indicated the European Court of Justice could have a role in the Northern Ireland Protocol. This could mean the court ruling on issues of EU law, but not having the final say in protocol disputes, the BBC reports.

The role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has not yet featured in current negotiations with the EU, but the UK is keen to engage on the issue. European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič (pictured), however, said the EU was not ready to discuss the role of the ECJ.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a deal agreed between the UK and the EU in 2019 as part of the Brexit talks. It avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods, thus creating a new trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

On Friday, the European Commission said medicines would continue to be available in Northern Ireland at the same time as in the rest of the UK under plans to simplify the protocol.

During my visit to Northern Ireland in September, I promised to do whatever it takes to ensure a long-lasting solution on medicines, all the more so in light of the current pandemic. I kept my word – and today, the Commission is delivering in the form of a legislative proposal, ensuring that everyone in Northern Ireland has access to the same medicines at the same time as in the rest of the United Kingdom.

European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost said the proposal came after talks between the two sides and the UK would consider the plan "positively".

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