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DUP MLA Diane Dodds has said it appears there is little new thinking apparent on the part of the European Commission following the Executive Office Committee evidence session with Maros Sefcovic today.

Speaking afterwards the Upper Bann MLA said, “I am glad that the Vice President engaged with the Executive Office Committee because it was another opportunity to demonstrate that no unionist MLA supports or endorses the Protocol. Prior to the meeting I said the Commission needed to stop burying its head in the sand. Unfortunately there was little evidence this has yet occurred, but it is vital that we take up these opportunities to highlight how the actions of the European Union do not meet its rhetoric.

We are told repeatedly that the Commission wishes to respect and protect the Belfast Agreement, but the Vice President continues to defend overriding the Assembly’s consent mechanisms built into that Agreement. We are effectively being told that the key to protecting the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland is a return to majority rule.

Similarly, it also became clear throughout the meeting that whilst talking about flexibilities, Mr Sefcovic was only prepared to countenance one possible outcome. The EU’s approach to flexibility appears to be that you can have any solution you like so long as it’s their pre-ordained outcome.

Having said he wanted to listen to the views of the Northern Ireland Assembly the real challenge for Maros Sefcovic is demonstrating that he has not just listened to the genuine concerns outlined to him today, but to act upon them.”