The meeting was co-chaired by the UK’s Lord Frost and European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič. The First Minister and deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive and 27 Member State representatives attended.
The Committee received an update on the work of the Specialised Committees since the last meeting on 24 February, and discussed progress on Withdrawal Agreement implementation, with particular focus on the Northern Ireland Protocol and citizens’ rights. The first Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee annual report was also agreed and signed, this will be published in due course.
The UK made clear its readiness for continued constructive engagement to find pragmatic solutions that ensure the Protocol operates in a way that safeguards the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions, minimises its impact on the day-to-day lives of communities in Northern Ireland, and maintains the integrity of the EU’s Single Market. The UK will continue to put forward ideas and options.
The UK underlined the urgency of a number of issues and noted it would continue to engage fully in discussions with the EU, with a view to finding substantial solutions to address the difficulties being caused by the Protocol in Northern Ireland. The UK would, however, continue to consider all options available for safeguarding peace, prosperity and stability in Northern Ireland.
The UK demonstrated its commitment to EU citizens living and working in the UK, where it has registered over 5 million people in the EU Settlement Scheme. The UK urged the EU to provide appropriate support to all eligible UK citizens living in the EU, particularly in EU Member States with upcoming deadlines for their residency schemes.
The UK restated its commitment to cooperating with the EU through the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee processes to make sure that pragmatic solutions are developed to implement all areas of the Withdrawal Agreement.