The UK government will consider dropping the clauses in the Internal Market and Finance Bills which breach the Northern Ireland Protocol provided "long-term and legally sound" solutions are found to the most contentious parts of the Protocol, RTÉ News has learned.

According to two sources, the solutions would have to be "satisfactory" to both the EU and UK.

It is understood the clauses would be dropped as part of a virtuous sequence of events, beginning with the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement, followed by a swiftly announced meeting of the EU UK Joint Committee, which has been negotiating the most difficult aspects of implementing the Protocol.

That meeting would be expected to conclude, in principle, a series of solutions to issues such as the movements of food consignments from Britain to Northern Ireland, the question of exit summary declarations for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Britain, the remit of EU state aid rules in Northern Ireland, how to define which British goods would be at risk of crossing the border and thus potentially attract a tariff, and the issue of what kind of presence EU officials would have in Northern Ireland.

The Internal Market Bill is due to return on Tuesday from the House of Lords, where peers voted to remove the offending clauses.

Even though the UK government has said it will reinsert the clauses, RTÉ News understands that that would be a procedural step which could later be reversed, as early as later in the week, provided the hastily called meeting of the Joint Committee was in a position to reach an overall settlement of the outstanding issues.

In recent weeks diplomats on both sides have said that steady progress has been made within the Joint Committee and that there are no major political difficulties dividing both sides.

However, it is understood some technical issues remain to be completed.

Sources have said that the conclusion of a free trade agreement, which EU and UK negotiators continue to work on in Brussels, would help untangle some of the key contentious issues within the Northern Ireland Protocol, such as the state aid issue and the question of defining "goods at risk".

The EU and Ireland have long warned that a future relationship agreement would not be ratified if the UK insisted on retaining the clauses within the Internal Market Bill, and expected to appear in the upcoming Finance Bill.

The clauses override key elements of the Protocol by giving UK ministers the powers to unilaterally disapply aspects of the agreement, which was signed and ratified by both the EU and UK in January.

Sources say any solution to the contentious parts of the Protocol would have to be "long term" and "legally sound", and not merely a grace period for Northern Ireland businesses to adapt.

One source stressed that the solutions would have to be "satisfactory to both sides."

The solutions would have to form part of EU legislation and approved by EU member states.

It is understood member states have been given a flavour of what the solutions might entail.

Once the technical work has been completed, there would be a final meeting of the Joint Committee in mid December to formally adopt the measures.

The Protocol will take effect on 1 January.

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