Northern Ireland protocol ‘not the problem’ says EU ambassador
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The European Commission has warned Britain will soon have to start showing genuine proof for the construction of border control posts in Northern Ireland, as well as grant eurocrats access to customs databases. A huge row has erupted on the issue just days before a crunch meeting between the UK’s Brexit minister and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic in London over the Protocol and avoiding a hard border. A senior eurocrat claimed the UK could be slapped with trade tariffs by the European Union unless Downing Street agrees to lighten its stance on the issue and cooperate more with the bloc.
The Commission official said: “Our patience is wearing thin, and if this continues, the EU will have to consider all the tools and all the options that are available to us.”
The insider claimed Britain is continuing to not implement the terms of the Brexit divorce deal that was signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson towards the end of 2019.
They claimed the Brussels has taken pragmatic and flexible approach to offer solutions on the escalating issue that can could help limit the number of customs controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The Commission official warned the EU would need to be prepared for a “more confrontational approach” by Downing Street.
But Britons have reacted furiously to the latest “bullying tactics” from the EU, and have demanded Boris Johnson hit back.
Reacting to our initial story, one raging reader wrote: “Bullying tactics will not work.
“It brings out the British Bulldogs who are stubborn.”
A second furious person said: “Stand firm, then hit back harder. Don’t let the bullies win.”
Another third reader commented: “They have more stuff coming here than what goes there, so just put tariffs on the stuff coming here.”
A fourth person added: “Another day, another EU threat. No goodwill as promised.
“They just can’t accept the UK will flourish. Tear up the agreement.”
Under the terms of the Brexit trade agreement struck at the end of last year, the UK and EU can impose tariffs on the other’s exports for breaching the pact, pending independent arbitration.
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Brussels is already fuming at London for unilaterally scrapping huge amounts of EU red tape aimed at protecting the bloc’s single market.
Ahead of his crucial meeting with Mr Sefcovic this week, Lord Frost warned the EU’s bureaucratic approach could pose a security risk on Northern Ireland.
The Brexit minister said: “We are seeing political turbulence, with the loss of First Minister Arlene Foster, the change of the UUP leadership and street protests. And there are real-world impacts on lives and livelihoods.”
Lord Frost added: “We’ve seen manufacturers of medicines cutting supply and there is less choice on supermarket shelves for consumers.
“The NI Retail Consortium has warned that when the grace period ends in October, supermarkets will face ‘real, severe problems’.”
Brussels has proposed that 80 percent of checks could be eliminated if the UK agreed to align to the bloc’s food and animal safety rules, something Lord Frost has continued to reject.
The Brexit minister said: “The EU needs a new playbook for dealing with neighbours, one that involves pragmatic solutions between friends, not the imposition of one side’s rules on the other and legal purism.”
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney has also waded into the argument, and wrote on Twitter: “Lord Frost continues to lay blame for difficulty with the Protocol at EU inflexibility.
“This is simply not the case. Maros Sefcovic and the EU have consistently proposed new solutions.
“Is this about media messaging in the UK or really solving problems together?”
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune also said: “The Northern Ireland Protocol cannot be called into question.
“It’s not the problem, it’s the solution to a problem we didn’t create.”
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