Negotiations with the UK on its bill on the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol are becoming increasingly difficult in the European Parliament for a number of reasons, according to MEP Colm Markey.

Speaking to EuroParlRadio, Markey said that the UK’s unilateral approach is “very unhelpful”, and added that as long as it continues to act that way, “it is impossible for the EU to negotiate”.

The Midlands North-West MEP said that there are challenges that need to be dealt with but said that the only way this can be done effectively is if everyone sits down together.

According to Markey, there are also concerns circulating in the parliament around a lack of Northern Irish representation in the assembly, which was set up as a forum to allow the European and UK Parliaments to exchange views on relations. He said:

“Essentially there’s only one NI representative on the UK side and that leaves them out of the picture which is a serious concern.

“So, I would have be concerned about the overall representation for the UK not reflecting the NI position effectively enough.”

The Fine Gael MEP also said that negotiations have become difficult in parallel with “moving sands within the UK” as instability in the Tory party continues. He said that this, along with the UK’s determination to act unilaterally is “leading to great uncertainty and a lack of confidence”.

“It is very hard to negotiate when you don’t know who you are negotiating with and when there’s no certainty around whether or not what is negotiated will actually stick on the other side,” he said.

He called for a consensus approach similar to that which resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.

“It was built on all sides coming together and coming to an agreement and that’s what need in this situation, but I think that a lot of the people on the UK side still have a journey to come, to get to that position,” he concluded.