Speaking on BBC Newsnight, the former EU Brexit negotiator said during his four years working as chief negotiator, he would think about the Northern Ireland issue “everyday and sometimes every night”. “Finally we found an agreement with Boris Johnson,” he said.
“Not against him, not without him, but with him.
“And once again, every word, every sentence was negotiated.”
The protocol, designed to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, observes EU rules on products imported from Great Britain.
When asked if the Prime Minister and his cabinet understood what the protocol meant, Barnier replied saying: “Yes, they are serious people.”
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Speaking at Queen’s University in Belfast, Šefčovič said he was “acutely” aware of the unionist unease with the protocol.
However, he stated there was no alternative, given Boris Johnson’s government had opted for a hard Brexit.
“I am, of course, acutely aware of how some in Northern Ireland feel about the protocol, in particular in the unionist community,” he said.
“I do not need any political victory here. I want to find a solution that represents win-win, first of all for the people of Northern Ireland.
“I believe that if there is a good deal and a good cooperation, we can we can achieve it.”