The Northern Ireland protocol is the name given to the current system of trade in and out of Northern Ireland. The protocol was established after Brexit, creating a sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, in order to prevent a hard border between the North and the Republic.
This meant that all goods coming into Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK had to go through vigorous customs checks in order to prevent goods that did not meet EU standards from entering the EU across the Northern Irish border.
The report by RTÉ says a solution has been found which implements a two-lane system for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The system will see goods originating in Great Britain that are set to stay in Northern Ireland treated differently than goods that are set to move across the border into the EU.
These goods will be processed in the “green lane”, while goods destined for the single market will go through the “red lane”.
"We have acknowledged the unintended consequences of the protocol and we know the most important thing is that we have a solution that works for Northern Ireland," an EU official told RTÉ.
"We share the philosophy that we should treat goods differently if they are staying in Northern Ireland compared to those which are going to the single market. There are more safeguards in place, that means more flexibility.”
The plan will also implement a computer system that can live track goods being shipped from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
"The IT system is up and running. We have made recommendations and the UK has been constructive in meeting them. IT safeguards are in place.
"There are different options to make an express lane more green and the red lane will follow with appropriate safeguards.
"There are technicalities which have been improved, some need more time. What kind of info goes in [to the IT system], how is it processed, and so on. We’re pushing for a joint solution," the senior EU official added.
However, an announcement is not expected this week due to a summit in Brussels, according to another EU official mentioned in the RTÉ report.
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