Northern Ireland: Talks with EU 'unproductive' says Frost
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The Brexit minister warned the Northern Ireland Protocol was unworkable in its current form and accused the EU of not living up to its commitment to minimising barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Lord Frost’s comments to MPs on the European Scrutiny Committee on Monday sparked a strong reaction from Express.co.uk readers.
Commenting on this website, one reader said: “Scrap the entire Withdrawal Agreement and leave them to stew in their whole sordid mess. WTO rules!!”
Another fumed: “Pull the plug on Brussels, they will eventually go down the plughole anyway, not and never to be trusted.”
A third commented: “Hardly surprising. The EU didn’t negotiate in good faith so they can’t be expected to implement any deal in good faith.”
Another added: “Well as they ignore any agreements. It stands to reason we must do the same, and pull the plug.”
A fifth said: “Good. Let us use this as a reason to repudiate the deal and go WTO.
“We should expect some short term trouble but there would be a long term benefit.”
It comes after Lord Frost told MPs: “The fundamental problem for us is if the way the Protocol is operating is undermining the Good Friday Agreement rather than supporting it then we obviously have a problem.
“That wasn’t what the Protocol was meant to do and if it is doing it then it’s not working right.”
The Protocol was designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland but it has angered unionists by effectively creating a barrier for the supply of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland.
UK and EU ministers and officials are in negotiations to try and find a solution to the ongoing problems with the Protocol.
Lord Frost said: “There’s a bit of momentum in that discussion – it’s not hugely productive, and we’ll have to see how far we can take it.”
The Brexit minister added that a breakthrough could be possible in the coming weeks.
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He said: “We have discussions with the EU that enables us to fix those sorts of difficulties.
“At the moment we aren’t quite, but I still hope that might be possible in the next month or so.”
Lord Frost said businesses in Great Britain were having more problems than anticipated moving goods into Northern Ireland which was having “a bigger chilling effect than we thought”.
And he described an “unsettledness” in Northern Ireland.
Lord Frost also accused the bloc of failing to live up to its obligations to minimise barriers in trade.
He told MPs: “We want to see a bit more flexibility in the way this arrangement is implemented.
“There is a provision in the Withdrawal Agreement which puts us both under an obligation to minimise as far as possible barriers to GB-Northern Ireland trade and I am not sure that obligation is being fully fulfilled.
“We need a sensible discussion about the genuine risk and the genuine problems that are produced by excessive process. We haven’t had that discussion yet, unfortunately.”
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