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DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton today attended a meeting with the EU Ambassador to the UK, Joao Vale de Almeida, during his visit to Londonderry.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Middleton said:

“This was a useful opportunity to restate our total and resolute opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

These arrangements would create new internal trade barriers, reducing prosperity in homes right across our Province, whilst threatening the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

The Brussels claim that this is needed to protect peace and stability is fatally undermined by the fact that no unionist party in Northern Ireland supports the Protocol.

Peace wasn’t secured by the ink of the Belfast Agreement, which incidentally makes one reference to the border. It was secured mainly through the sacrifice and dedication of those in the security forces who faced down the terrorist threat and brought the IRA to the negotiating table. The cost was massive, not least for the unionist community on the West Bank of the Foyle here in Londonderry.

I stressed to the Mr Vale de Almeida that the EU’s interpretation of the Belfast Agreement was heavy on sensationalism but light on substance.

The Belfast Agreement doesn’t just contain obligations to nationalists and republicans but to unionists as well - via the principle of consent. The EU has rode roughshod over this respect for consensus and as a result their words and promises will continue to be met with suspicion and alienation by many communities across Northern Ireland.”