Mail on Sunday readers might be curious as to why we’re in a heated and sometimes even violent argument again with the EU about the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

We are again being threatened over our treatment of a part of our country.

This is a strange thing to happen when the issues were so recent.

The answer is that, as Maros Sefcovic, my EU opposite number, acknowledged in a speech on Friday, there are a series of ‘unintended consequences’ from the application of the protocol.

In the beginning of this year, the EU denied that there were problems. The EU now acknowledges that problems exist and has suggested solutions.

Brexit minister Lord Frost, pictured, said that the protocol issues are 'not fair on consumers in Northern Ireland'

Pictured: Lord Frost, Brexit minister, says that protocol issues are unfair on Northern Ireland consumers.

But so far their solutions don’t deal with the problems. To sustain peace and secure the Belfast, or Good Friday, Agreement, we need to be more ambitious and urgent.

The protocol itself says it should ‘impact as little as possible on the everyday life of communities in both Ireland and Northern Ireland’. However, it’s failing to achieve this.

Problem at its core is the fact that not all goods get to Northern Ireland the same way as they do elsewhere in our country. If they do, they may face additional costs or delays.

That’s not fair on consumers in Northern Ireland.

As we approach Christmas, we’ve seen a stream of stories about products being banned and services being withdrawn because of the protocol.

Protesters in demonstration as fears grow that the UK government will trigger Article 16 which could see a return to a so called hard border

As fears mount that the UK government will invoke Article 16 and reopen a so-called hard border, protestors demonstrate

Marks & Spencer has had to withdraw its entire Christmas product ‘Click and collect’ service from Northern Ireland because of uncertainties in delivery timetables. These stories aren’t new – they’ve been happening all year.

According to our sources, at least 200 Northern Irish retailers have been reported as having stopped shipping goods to Northern Ireland.

It is known that many drugs and medicines are being pulled. According to us, the Jewish community in Northern Ireland is expressing concern about their ability to import kosher goods from other parts of the UK.

Garden centres can’t get many kinds of plants and seeds from the rest of the UK because their import to Northern Ireland is banned.

We are even in a position where plans to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year by planting trees cannot be properly implemented in Northern Ireland because English oaks, and many other trees, can’t be moved there – even though plenty were moved until the end of last year, and as far as I am aware have not all been cut down since.

Maros Sefcovic, pictured, acknowledged in a speech on Friday that there are a series of ¿unintended consequences¿ from the application of the protocol

Maros Sefcovic, pictured, acknowledged in a speech on Friday that there are a series of ‘unintended consequences’ from the application of the protocol

Other services work because the Government cannot implement all of its requirements.

EU tried to bring us before their Court of Justice. This flexibility would not have allowed for every package sent from Amazon to Northern Ireland by friends or family members to require a customs declaration.

Even so it’s easy to find online examples of it being actually more expensive to send a parcel to Belfast than to Dublin.

It is also possible to bring your pet dog with you when families travel from Northern Ireland for Christmas.

All this has led to Northern Ireland businesses abandoning British suppliers in favor of buying from Ireland and other EU countries.

The trade volume between Northern Ireland (Ireland) has increased 40-50 percent since last year.

So the protocol arrangements risk pushing Northern Ireland’s trade and economic links away from the rest of the UK. It’s not surprising people are worried.

When I visit Northern Ireland, I feel a lot of anxiety about the situation.

Some people want to resolve it through negotiations, others prefer that we use Article 16 protocol’s protections.

However, everyone is eager to see it solved. It is not possible to implement the protocol fully in real life, according to my research.

There’s a simple solution. Goods which both we and the EU agree aren’t going to leave Northern Ireland should not be treated as if they were moving from one country to another – because they are not.

Goods going on to Ireland should be checked, in the Irish Sea, to protect the EU’s single market and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. That’s what we have proposed.

The EU claims it’s impossible at this time. They should reconsider.

These problems are at the core of territorial integrity and what it means for us to have one country and one marketplace. They won’t disappear.

I hope that the EU will show the courage and resolve to solve the issue by agreement. If they can’t, of course we will have to safeguard our position in other ways.

To my own part, I’m working very hard to make a deal. If we can, we can move on from the current frictions and get back to what we always wanted – good relations and free trade with our closest friends and neighbours.