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EU tramples on Northern Ireland trade, says Brexit minister | Brexit

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Relations between the EU and the UK are likely to deteriorate further after the Brexit minister accused Brussels of behaving “regardless of the enormous political, economic and identity sensitivities” in Northern Ireland.

David Frost said the bloc had “destroyed cross-community consent” with “overly strict” application of the provisions crafted in the January 2020 Withdrawal Agreement.

His comments, in a foreword to a new paper for the Policy Exchange think tank, were released days after a second week of talks between the two sides ended in stalemate.

He also expressed, in the simplest terms to date, a view in Downing Street that the terms of the protocol were forced on Britain due to Theresa May’s weakness in the first phase of the negotiations in 2017.

Lord Frost said that the EU-UK joint report, which set the conditions for the EU’s Article 50 divorce proceedings, resulted from the UK’s failure to do “the mental change necessary to be a member of the EU to negotiate the exit from the EU. the EU ”.

The joint report was a defining moment in Brexit history, marked by May’s humiliation by the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland in December 2017 as she prepared to co-sign it with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Then-DUP leader Arlene Foster, who supported May’s government, told her she would not support clauses that meant Northern Ireland would remain in regulatory alignment with the republic if the border issue did not could not be resolved in the second phase of negotiations.

Days later, the section of the joint report was changed to reflect the DUP, but the Brexit sequencing was set in stone, enshrining the Irish border solutions in the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement – the point of maximum leverage of Dublin – rather than in future business relationships.

The loopholes generated by the sequencing seem to motivate Frost’s demands for fundamental changes to the protocol.

He says he considered resigning his post as Special Foreign Adviser to Boris Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, after reading the terms of the joint report and realizing that “a crucial pass has been sold” .

Frost said the protocol agreed that December was the result of the ‘extreme weakness’ of the UK government after the June 2017 election. 2019. ”

Policy Exchange – The Northern Ireland Protocol: the origins of the current crisis, by Roderick Crawford – provides a timeline of the Brexit negotiations and what went wrong in 2017.

He argues that the commitments, particularly at the Irish border, in the joint report were “a diplomatic triumph for Ireland and the Commission”, but that “failure to secure adequate reciprocal concessions has been a resounding failure for the Kingdom. -United “.

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