An EU official stated that the European Commission will finalise steps next week that it believes would lead to a resolution of post-Brexit trading issues in Northern Ireland by the end of the year or early in 2022.

The problems in delivering some goods to British-run Northern Ireland after Britain exited the EU's single market last year have prompted London to ask for widespread changes to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, stated that he would not revise the protocol and that solutions would have to be found within the parameters of a settlement designed to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

Northern Irish Brexit Issue Is Two-Way Street, Says EU's Sefcovic | World News | US News

"We will have very intense discussions for the remainder of October and November, and I believe it is in both of our best interests to attempt to reach an agreement by the end of the year, or early next year," Sefcovic said.

As some Northern Irish enterprises switch suppliers, the new rules have resulted in increasing trade across the open border with Ireland. Some of the more onerous checks between Britain and Northern Ireland have also been postponed.

Sefcovic stated that the EU would be willing to look at customs checks "creatively" with more cooperation from London, and that his proposals would also look for long-term solutions on food and plant safety, as well as the supply of medicines from Britain.

Britain said that if the EU does not agree to major modifications to the divorce deal, it will trigger safeguard measures, claiming the agreement has "fallen apart much more quickly than we thought."

The frequent remarks by British MPs that they may invoke Article 16 of the protocol have not been helpful, said Sefcovic, and it is evident that there are no easy fixes to an extraordinarily difficult situation.