The EU’s ambassador to the UK has accused new DUP leader Edwin Poots of making comments about the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol that lack “adherence to reality”.
Joao Vale de Almeida was asked about Poots saying that the agreement was “demonstrable harm to every individual in Northern Ireland” and is having a “devastating impact”.
The ambassador told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “First of all I don’t think those statements have adherence to reality. The EU is politically, financially and emotionally, I would say, committed to peace and prosperity for everybody in Northern Ireland.
“The protocol is not the problem, Brexit created the problem in Northern Ireland.
“The protocol is a joint endeavour of the UK and the European Union, it is British law, European law, international law. There is no alternative to the protocol.
“Even those that criticise the protocol do not present an alternative which is compatible with the terms of Brexit so the protocol is the solution, we need to implement it and we want to implement it with pragmatism.”
Almeida also raised hopes that those wanting to holiday in Europe later this summer will find the process easier.
“I hope many, many British citizens will come to our countries and I hope many EU citizens will visit the UK.”
He said that the bloc was hoping a digital Covid certificate would pave the way for greater ability to travel.
“We’re hopeful that some time later in the summer, around July, we could be in a situation where travel and tourism will be made a lot easier,” he added.