EU 'has a responsibility to support protocol' says Frost
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The Brexit expert explained how the EU “have a responsibility to support the peace process” in Northern Ireland following comments and difficulties put to the UK around the Northern Ireland Protocol. Lord Frost called on the EU to show “real-life solutions that make a difference” and demanded they “deliver the protocols commitment to minimal change” to people in Northern Ireland.
Lord Frost was asked by the DUP’s Gregory Campbell: “You alluded to the issue of unionist concerns in relation to the implementation of the Protocol and some of the issues arising there.
“You will be aware of course that there were a number of protests, thankfully peaceful, attracting hundreds and last week there was one that attracted several thousand.
“Devolution could well come to shuddering halt in the next few days which will only add to the tensions even more.
“What do you think can be achieved in the next few days or weeks with the EU to try and deescalate tension rather than increasing it such as the words we had from the Tánaiste (Leo Varadkar) overnight about a united Ireland?
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Lord Frost replied: “I certainly think everyone has the right to say what they think, obviously, and we respect that but it would be good if people could be conscious of the way their words land at a sensitive moment in Northern Ireland.
“We try to be very responsible in that and I would hope others would be.
“If we can reinject some momentum into this negotiation and show that solutions are possible but they have got to be fundamental solutions that change the balance of where things are the moment and if the EU would make clearers statements to that effect, I would hope that would help things.”
But he went on to slam the EU for repeated interventions in the UK’s domestic affairs and took aim at the bloc for stoking unionist and republican tensions in both Northern and the Republic of Ireland.
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He slammed: “The trouble is ever since they intervened at the end of January with their vaccines proposal it seems it has made things worse and not better.
“The fact that the EU is party to the Protocol is an acceptance that they have a responsibility to support the peace process with us in Northern Ireland.
“And I would like to see some of that in real deeds in the way they help us work through the protocol and not just words on the subject that is the core of the problem.
“We need real-life solutions that make a difference and deliver the protocols commitment to minimal change to everyday lives in Northern Ireland and obviously that is not the situation at the moment.”
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His comments come as Lord Frost reiterated the importance of Britain being able to set its own rules in order to secure future trade deals around the world.
The former Brexit negotiator made a point of reaffirming Brexit Britain’s sovereignty as he discussed the ongoing row with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol, he was clear that “having control of your own rules” was vital if Britain was to struck new trade deals like this week’s landmark agreement with Australia.
Lord Frost slammed: “It is not clear to me that the Commission is willing to see any kind of alignment without some ability to kind of police it.
“Through their institutions which would, of course, be more acceptable so it is not clear to me that commitment would be a sovereign decision it would be an obligation of sovereignty if that is what the EU has in mind. I think that the broader problem is that having control of your own rules is important.”
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