Just Cool It: EU Commission Tells UK to Drop 'Political Rhetoric' Over Northern Ireland Protocol
© RIA Novosti . Eddie MulhollandBritain's Brexit Minister David Frost chairs the first meeting of the Partnership Council with European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London, June 9, 2021.
© RIA Novosti . Eddie Mulholland
The Brexit minister, Lord Frost, said this week Britain would be “robust” if the EU began a trade war over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Frost’s aggressive words came at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.
The vice-president of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, has called on the British government to tone down the “political rhetoric” over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Brexit Secretary, Lord Frost, recently formally asked for the protocol to be renegotiated amid widespread protests among the unionist and loyalist community in Northern Ireland.
On Monday, 4 October, Lord Frost said he was willing to engage in “intensive” talks with the EU for a “short period” but theatened to trigger Article 16 - suspending the protocol and entering a formal dispute - if unsatisfied.
Mr Šefčovič, speaking at an event in Dublin, said that Lord Frost’s comments were “not helpful.”
“I believe that the package of practical solutions we are putting on the table would beattractive and I hope supported by majority of stakeholders in Northern Ireland.”
When Britain left the EU's single market a compromise was put in place which effectively placed the whole island of Ireland in the single market but introduced a border in the Irish Sea.
Not only is that politically unpopular with unionists but it has led to some firms in Northern Ireland switching suppliers from companies England, Scotland or Wales to businesses in the Republic of Ireland.
Mr Šefčovič insisted he would not renegotiate the protocol but said: “From our perspective this would be really a very far reaching proposal and I sincerely hope that this will be seen as such by our UK counterparts.”
"We will have very intense talks throughout the rest of October and November and I think it's in the best interest of both of us that we will try to find a reasonable solution before the end of the year, early next year,” Mr Šefčovič added.