Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson hosted a business breakfast this morning on issues surrounding customs, trade and the border. The event in Antrim provided an opportunity for a wide range of local stakeholders to engage with senior politicians from Brussels and Westminster on what are key aspects of the Brexit negotiations. Mr Nicholson was accompanied by Dan Dalton, MEP for the West Midlands and Vicky Ford MP (former MEP and Chair of the Internal Market Committee until the recent UK general election).
Jim Nicholson MEP said:
“I have long recognised that resolving issues relating to customs, trade and the border would be key aspects of the Brexit negotiations. Along with colleagues from the ECR Group in the European Parliament we established a working group to consider customs and border issues, and I am delighted to bring some of my colleagues, including the Chair of the Internal Market Committee, to Northern Ireland to speak to local stakeholders.
“We know that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will present challenges, it is now time to talk seriously about finding solutions. The recent publication of the UK Government’s position papers on customs and Northern Ireland was a welcome step forward. With the third round of formal Brexit negotiations kicking off in Brussels on Monday I would hope that the EU27 will consider the proposals seriously and approach the talks in a cooperative and pragmatic manner.
“Finding workable solutions that minimise disruption and ensure that trade is as frictionless as possible post-Brexit will require innovative thinking, and I hope this visit can help to facilitate future discussions.
“This morning’s breakfast was a useful opportunity for representatives from across Northern Ireland’s business community and wider society to directly engage with politicians at a key time in the negotiations. In the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive I felt that facilitating this engagement was important to ensure that local voices are heard as widely as possible by representatives from Westminster and Brussels.”