The Minister for Foreign Affairs has said that each time the European Union comes forward with new proposals over the Northern Ireland Protocol, "they are dismissed by the UK" before they are even published.

Simon Coveney told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the dismissals are "more serious" this week, given the comprehensive compromise proposals the EU is bringing forward.

He said this is being seen across the EU as "the same pattern, over and over again" by the UK.

In a post on Twitter at the weekend, he said the British government had created a new "red line" barrier to progress in relation to governance and the CJEU (European Court of Justice).

Mr Coveney today said that if the CJEU was a red line for the UK, "why did they sign up to the protocol?"

He added that "no unionists or business people in Northern Ireland are raising the issue" of the CJEU.

The minister said the British government "seems to be shifting the playing field - they know the EU cannot move on the European Courts of Justice".

Asked if it was "not very diplomatic" to be Tweeting on a Saturday night about the protocol, Mr Coveney replied: "I don't think it was very diplomatic, but I don't think it was diplomatic either to brief the main British newspapers on a speech that David Frost intends to give in Portugal tomorrow."

He said that this was "essentially raising the bar" before the EU produces its package, which it has been working on for many weeks and keeping the British side informed of.

Mr Coveney said it is "a bit rich" for Mr Frost, the UK's Brexit minister, to accuse him of raising issues on social media when he is briefing British media.

He said that he did not believe the British government would ultimately wreck the protocol, but said Mr Frost's negotiation strategy has been to wait for the EU to come forward with compromise proposals, bank them, then say they are not enough and ask for more.

Mr Coveney said: "The problem with that is that it may work in the short term, in terms of getting compromises from the EU, but at some point in time the EU will say enough.

"We cannot compromise any more without fundamentally undermining the functioning of the protocol in the context of the integrity of the EU single market and I think we're very close to that point now."

Changes are essential - Downing Street

Downing Street has said that changes to the protocol are essential if it is to survive.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman said the UK had signed up to the protocol in "good faith" but the way it was being operated by the EU was unsustainable.

The spokesman said: "It was formed in the spirit of compromise in challenging circumstances.

"Since then we have seen how the EU is inclined to operate the governance arrangements, issuing infraction proceeding against the UK at the first sign of disagreement.

"These arrangements aren't sustainable, we need to find a new way of resolving issues that arise between us using mechanisms normal in other international treaties.

"It is unheard of for bilateral agreements being policed by the courts of one of the parties."

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Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said the role of the European Court of Justice is of "little practical importance to the businesses and people of Northern Ireland, whether they are unionists or nationalists.

"We want to help them improve their trade flows to Britain as they've asked and help them of course to continue to have access to the [EU] single market through these rules, which is equally important".

The minister is today inaugurating a new Irish terminal at the French ferry port of Dunkirk, with Ireland-France sea routes rising from 12 before Brexit to 44 now.

Meanwhile, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC Radio Ulster: "We want to see the EU making proposals that will remove the Irish Sea border and restore Northern Ireland's place fully within the UK internal market.

"We recognise there will need to be separate arrangements to ensure that goods travelling into the EU from the UK - whether via Northern Ireland or otherwise - meet EU standards.

"But for goods remaining within the UK - and travellling from Britain to Northern Ireland - there is no reason for customs checks and that is why any proposals must remove that Irish sea border".

Mr Donaldson said he has not yet seen the latest EU proposals, which are due to be published on Wednesday, so does not know if they will go "far enough".

Asked about Mr Frost's contention that the CJEU is a "red line", he said the UK government has a point because it is "unfair that the EU court is the final arbiter in a dispute process".

He said the DUP also has "concerns" about the EU court. "It is a matter that is a genuine issue to raise, I want to see it resolved," Mr Donaldson said.

'Right decision' to attend centenary service

Meanwhile, Mr Coveney said that he is going to the Northern Ireland centenary service "because the Government has asked me to and I think the Government is making the right decision there".

The ceremony takes place at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh on 21 October.

It is being organised by the leaders of the main Christian churches and will mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.

Mr Coveney said that he respects President Michael D Higgins' right to decline that invitation and he has spoken to him at length on the issue.

The President also recognises that the Government is in a different position, he said, adding that the service is "not a commemoration and it is certainly not a celebration".

Additional reporting: Tony Connelly, PA