Europe is anxious to deal with concerns that unionists have over the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has insisted.
He was speaking after meeting with the main five political parties in Belfast, where the devolved government is still deadlocked.
It came as DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson suggested that the EU and the UK could reach an agreement on the contentious post-Brexit trade deal within weeks.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris expressed disappointment in a series of tweets as the one-year anniversary of the impasse approached.
“Today marks one year since Northern Ireland’s then-first minister resigned. “It is disappointing that 12 months and one Assembly election later, people in Northern Ireland still do not have the strong devolved government that they deserve,” he said.
The UK and the EU are currently negotiating differences in the protocol.
Mr Martin also said the EU was sensitive to concerns unionists had about the protocol.
“I think Europe is very aware and sensitive to the unionist community’s points of view and concerns about the protocol issue and having that seamless trade within the UK single market,” he said.
“I do genuinely believe that the European Union is very anxious to deal with those concerns that unionism has.”