EU's Šefčovič: We are at a crossroads in relationship with UK

Henrietta Strickland
June 9, 2021

Both sides fear the tensions could fuel a return to violence in Northern Ireland.

Why isn't Boris Johnson sticking to his promise in the deal - checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain? The UK angered Brussels earlier this year when it unilaterally extended the grace period covering many supermarket items, delaying the required inspections for six months.

The EU has urged the U.K.to address the "substantial gaps" in the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, after the two parties failed to reach common ground on post-Brexit checks in the region. He added: 'No one knows it better than Lord Frost himself, then the UK's chief Brexit negotiator'. But Frost said compromise is needed to make this a reality.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, EU vice-president Maros Sefcovic vowed Brussels would retaliate if the United Kingdom government took similar steps again, such as extending a grace period on checks on chilled meats due to end later this month.

Mr Eustice said he had "no idea" why the bloc imposed "idiosyncratic" rules.

"Of course, as you would understand, the fact that I mentioned that we are at a crossroads means that our patience really is wearing very, very thin, and therefore we have to assess all options we have at our disposal", he said."I was talking about the legal action, I was talking about arbitration, and of course I'm talking about the cross-retaliation".

"I think that's a nonsense".

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and U.K. Brexit minister David Frost met Wednesday in London to take stock of the state of technical negotiations on how to simplify the operation of the protocol, a key part of the Brexit divorce deal which the U.K. government argues creates too much bureaucracy for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

'I suspect that any U.S. administration would be amazed if you were to say, for instance, that a sausage from Texas couldn't be sold to California, there would be an outright ban - they really wouldn't understand how that could even be contemplated, ' told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "There's no case whatsoever for preventing chilled meats from being sold in Northern Ireland", said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman, Max Blain.

Following three-and-a-half hours of discussions at Admiralty House, Lord Frost accused Brussels of adopting an "extremely purist" approach to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Eustice told LBC that the European Union had been "slow to engage" with efforts to iron out difficulties ahead of the ending of a grace period which allows Northern Irish shops to continue selling chilled meats - including sausages and mince.

'It is not exactly coming at a good time to suddenly - at the start of July - happen and people can't get supplies of chilled meat from Britain'.

"And that is the message that President Biden will send when he is in Cornwall".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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