In his statement following the meeting, Maroš Šefčovič noted that there are only six months to go before the end of the transition period and said that “we still have lots of work to do”.
Mr Šefčovič said that the window of opportunity to put in place the operational measures needed to ensure that the Northern Ireland Protocol can function as intended on 1 January 2021 is “rapidly closing”. He welcomed the UK Government’s publication of its Command Paper setting out its approach in fulfilling its obligations under the Protocol, but said that the paper did “not provide sufficient operational details”. He emphasised that, as of 1 January 2021, the UK will have to meet all the requirements of the Protocol, “rigorously and effectively”, including putting in place all the necessary checks and controls for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Mr Šefčovič said that he had taken note of the UK’s decision not to extend the transition period, but said that the EU “remains open to such an extension”. In this context, the parties agreed to accelerate implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and to accelerate their work. They also agreed that the Joint Committee should meet again in early September. To read Mr Šefčovič’s statement in full, click here.