EU unimpressed over Liz Truss’s post-Brexit threats
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The Horizon Project is the bloc’s £84billion key research and innovation programme which Brexit Britain was set to be a significant contributor. But its contributions have been stalled as the UK and Brussels remains at loggerheads over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Last week the Foreign Secretary – who now also holds former Brexit Secretary Lord Frost’s brief – threatened to trigger Article 16.
This would unilaterally suspend the protocol and has attracted sharp criticism from EU nations as well as the threat of legal action.
And with the UK’s participation in the Horizon Project also on ice, Express.co.uk readers called on Ms Truss to instead invest in home-grown research projects.
Sean wrote: “We got £0.38 back from the EU for every £1 we paid in.
“The Turing Scheme (for UK overseas students) shows that outside the bloc we get better bang for our buck so use that money here rather than having it sucked up by the EU leeches.”
ILOVEUK2 raged: “Unless these latest UK threats quickly become a reality, then I will never vote again for a Conservative Government.
“This is not a threat, it is a promise. (I) think many people (are) becoming to feel much the same, idle threats are exactly what the name implies, just another waste of time and energy.”
EUTHESINKINGSHIP said: “Just get on with it and do it.
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“Enough of these EU games. We are better off in all respects binning them and everything to do with them.”
Donnumnum mused: “Walk away now, you can guarantee Horizon will end up a huge money pot that constantly demands more and more….take the loss and walk away now.”
Brussels sparked an outcry with its decision, which was made despite the fact that Britain’s participation was a feature of the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
After her appointment, there was speculation that Ms Truss was going to pursue a softer line with the EU than her predecessor Lord Frost.
But her comments last week defied critics and sent a strong message to the EU.
She said: “My priority is to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland. I want a negotiated solution but if we have to use legitimate provisions including Article 16, I am willing to do that.
“This safeguard clause was explicitly designed – and agreed to by all sides – to ease acute problems because of the sensitivity of the issues at play.
“The EU has already invoked this article to introduce a hard border for vaccine exports and, even in the act of withdrawing it, insisted on its right to do so again in the future.”
Lord Frost had also previously suggested that Article 16 was seriously being considered by the UK.
European Vice Commissioner Maros Sefcovic warned Lord Frost that this would have “serious consequences”.
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