Sunday, 7 Aug 2022

Done it again! Gleeful Brexiteers ridicule EU’s capitulation -‘Frost stood up to bullies!’

Lord Frost provides update on Northern Ireland protocol

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Tory MPs hailed the Brexit minister for having masterfully brought the EU to the negotiating table after the bloc paused legal action against the UK. Last week the UK Government set out its proposals to alter the Northern Ireland Protocol, claiming it was unsustainable in its current form.

Lord Frost said “we cannot go on as we are” as he pushed for significant changes to the withdrawal agreement.

Among his demands were a “standstill” period, preserving the current grace periods and suspending legal action taken by the EU against the UK.

European Commission President last week shot down the proposals saying: “The EU will continue to be creative and flexible within the Protocol framework. But we will not renegotiate.

“We must jointly ensure stability and predictability in Northern Ireland.”

But today, the bloc appeared to ease its opposition to Lord Frost’s suggestions.

A European Commission spokeswoman said: “The Commission will carefully assess the new proposals made by the UK, in accordance with the necessary consultation procedures, both internally, and with the European Parliament.

“In order to provide the necessary space to reflect on these issues and find durable solutions to the implementation of the Protocol, we have decided, at this stage, not to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure, started in March.”

The EU started legal action after Britain unilaterally extended the grace periods on some customs checks required as part of the Protocol.

Brexiteers have praised Lord Frost for forcing the EU to U-turn.

David Jones, deputy leader of the eurosceptic European Research Group, said: “It looks now like the EU have finally agreed they’re going to have to be a lot more realistic about dealing with the British over Northern Ireland.”

Expecting more capitulations in the weeks to come, he added: “I’m pretty sure they will compromise on more issues.

“The reason they will do that is because the UK is such an important trading partner it would be an act of self-harm if they were to cut off the current trading relations with the UK.

“It wouldn’t make sense for them.”

Another Conservative MP told Brussels was being shown up as a “playground bully”.

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They said: “If you stand up to the EU they will back down.

“It’s like all playground bullies, if you stand up to them, they cave in and it would seem to me that is exactly what the EU is doing.”

In similar comments, a third said: “You can’t feed a monster, you have to stand up to it and fight it.

“That’s what Lord Frost does for us.”

The Protocol was put in place to ensure there would be no hard border with Ireland, but it has instead effectively placed a trade barrier in the Irish Sea.

Unionists have argued the mechanism has led to frictions in trading within the UK.

Lord Frost wants Brussels to be more lenient in its enforcement of customs checks, scrap requirements for Northern Ireland goods to meet EU laws if they comply with British legislation, and agree to remove the European Court of Justice as the arbitrator of the Protocol.

Following the pause on legal action, a UK Government spokeswoman said: “We have received a constructive reply from the Commission in response to our request for a standstill on existing arrangements.

“We look forward to engaging in talks with the EU in the weeks ahead to progress the proposals in our command paper.

“As we set out in the Command Paper last week, significant changes are needed to ensure the Protocol is sustainable for future.”

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