GB News: France's 'deeply offensive' Brexit threat slammed
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Although Mr Johnson has repeatedly warned the UK will trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, one former MEP has claimed the Prime Minister has overplayed his hand. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ben Habib, former Brexit Party MEP, claimed Brussels has outflanked the Prime Minister and Lord Frost – who has now resigned from his position. As negotiations look set to continue into next year with Liz Truss now at the helm, he warned the UK will be “bullied” during talks as Mr Johnson has not followed through with his threat to suspend the deal.
With the EU refusing to back down over the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Northern Ireland Protocol, Mr Habib claimed the UK will buckle on the role of the ECJ in order to agree a solution.
Looking ahead to next year, Mr Habib said: “We will get bullied.
“But talks won’t continue for much longer, as there will be some cosmetic variation to the border arrangement, with the UK conceding more ground to EU regulations.
“So it will reduce friction in terms of trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
“So we’ll align more with their regulations.
“We’ll accept a small amount of ECJ interference in Northern Ireland.
“So the ECJ will stay the same. We will buckle in the New Year.”
Lord Forst and his counterpart, Maros Sefcovic, have held intensive talks in an attempt to fix issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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Lord Frost had sought to reach an agreement on medicine supplies to Northern Ireland, a new format for customs checks for goods, and the removal of the ECJ’s oversight of the Protocol prior to his resignation.
With Northern Ireland considered as part of the EU’s single market, companies that want to export from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, will have to establish specific batch controls land research facilities to continue to operate.
Lord Frost did extend the grace period for medicines indefinitely but this does not apply to all pharmaceutical medicines.
The Government has also called for a new customs system for goods moving to Northern Ireland which will remain in the UK, and not be exported into the Republic of Ireland.
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The EU has also refused to remove the ECJ from the Protocol although it has claimed it will recognise UK standards on some medicines.
Earlier this month, Lord Frost said: “It is disappointing that it has not been possible to reach either a comprehensive or worthwhile interim agreement this year.
“A solution needs to be found urgently early next year.
“For as long as there is no agreed solution, we remain ready to use the Article 16 safeguard mechanism if that is the only way to protect the prosperity and stability of Northern Ireland and its people.”
Mr Sefcovic said in response: “It gives me great pleasure to deliver today on one of the key pieces of our package – the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.
“During my visit to Northern Ireland in September I promised to do whatever it takes to ensure a long lasting solution on medicines, all the more so in the light of the current pandemic.
“I kept my word and today the Commission is delivering in the form of a legislative proposal ensuring that everyone in Northern Ireland has access to the same medicines at the same time as in the rest of the United Kingdom.”
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