We take note of the UK ministerial statement regarding the operation of the Protocol on the current basis, including the continuation of existing grace periods.
We continue to stress that the Withdrawal Agreement is an international agreement. The Protocol is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement and the agreed solution between the UK and the EU to the problems caused by Brexit for the island of Ireland. Both sides are legally bound to fulfil their obligations under the Agreement.
Our focus remains on identifying long-term, flexible and practical solutions to address issues related to the practical implementation of the Protocol that citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland are experiencing. However, we will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol. The Commission continues to engage constructively with the UK, in the interest of all communities in Northern Ireland.
Our approach to the Protocol is based on the achievement of stability, certainty and predictability in line with the objectives of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement and in order to protect the Single Market. In this way, businesses and citizens in Northern Ireland will reap the full benefits of the Protocol and, in particular, the access to the Single Market it provides.
The Commission reserves its rights in respect of infringement proceedings. At present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March 2021, and is not opening any new infringements for now.