Northern Ireland protocol is solution, not problem, says EU envoy to UK

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FILE PHOTO: Container ships are berthed at the Port of Belfast

LONDON (Reuters) - The Northern Ireland protocol painstakingly negotiated between Britain and the European Union is the solution and not the problem for the province as it deals with the difficult fallout from Brexit, the EU's envoy to the United Kingdom said.

Some in Northern Ireland are calling for the protocol to be scrapped on the grounds that it creates trade barriers between the province and the rest of the United Kingdom in order to protect the European single market.

"This protocol is a result of long and complex negotiations ... I tend to say that the protocol is the solution and not the problem," Joao Vale de Almeida said on BBC radio.

"Those who oppose the protocol today, they are not presenting any alternative because in fact there isn't (one)," he said.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, editing by Andy Bruce)