Penny Mordaunt hits out at the EU over Northern Ireland
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Their outbursts were triggered over Brussels’ refusal to budge on the Protocol – which has outraged the province’s Unionist community by creating a border in the Irish Sea. The 2019 Brexit deal avoided a hard border on the island of Ireland – but has been seen as a threat to Northern Ireland’s British identity.
Instead of working with the UK, the bloc has been accused of exploiting the situation for its own advantage.
Speaking as Brexit Secretary Lord Frost prepares to discuss changing the terms of the Protocol, many Express.co.uk voiced their frustrations with the EU.
One wrote: “All of these walk away and tearing ups that are churned out on a regular basis. When is something definite gonna happen?
“We voted out five years ago now, is there going to be another five of prevarication?”
Another said: “I wish Lord Frost would stop promising to do something and instead actually do something apart from caving in.”
A third wrote: “Boris is playing high stakes poker and the most he has is a pair of 2s. Boris’s bluff has been called.”
Meanwhile a fourth said: “Waste of time. The EU elite will never agree to anything the UK or whoever proposes!
“The UK has to be seen to be punished by the EU for having the audacity to leave the EU cartel.
“The UK has to walk away from the agreement as it’s the only way the EU will then realise the UK will no longer be at their command.”
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Lord Frost is due to set out the Government’s proposals to solve the controversy later today.
He previously told a session of the European Scrutiny Committee: “One of the difficulties with the Protocol is that it’s quite a purposive document, and a lot of its provisions have to be read with other provisions to sort of work out precisely what they mean.
“For example, the contradiction between the provision saying the union customs code must apply, and the provision that says that you must do your best to reduce checks at Northern Ireland ports: quite what the correct interpretation of those two things is is obviously a matter for debate.
“So I think the issue is that certainly arguably, the way the EU is allowing us to run some of these arrangements is arguably not consistent or only partly consistent with that sort of balance.”
Speaking after his appearance, a former UK official in Brussels called on both sides to strike a new agreement and increase cooperation.
Sir Jonathan Faull, a former director-general at the European Commission, wrote in the Financial Times: “It is time to get down to work in designing and implementing a new post-membership relationship.
“There is a lot to be said for boring diplomacy and committees. Services, foreign affairs, security — to name but a few — are too important to be left to the vagaries of ad hoc meetings and panicky responses to crises.”
Sir Jonathan has put forward an approach based on “mutual enforcement” or “dual autonomy”.
He added: “The UK and the EU could keep their regulatory autonomy intact.
“Each would incorporate the legal obligations of the other side into its domestic law, to be applied only by producers exporting goods into the territory of the other party.”
So far Brussels hasn’t been forthcoming and has threatened to take legal action against the UK for unilaterally suspending parts of the Protocol.
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