Brexit LIVE: They didn’t like that! Frost’s showdown mind games spark furious Irish attack
Brexit: Boris Johnson's fishing deal slammed by Mummery
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Since completing its departure from the EU at the end of last year, Britain’s relations with the now 27-member bloc have significantly deteriorated, with both sides blaming each other for the problems surrounding the Protocol. Following Brexit, the Protocol introduced checks on a number of goods moving from mainland Britain across the Atlantic to Northern Ireland. But the checks have sparked fury among pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland, who see the checks as the Brexit deal with the EU splitting them from the rest of the UK which they fear could destroy the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence.
Writing in the Financial Times ahead of the crunch meeting in London with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic this week, Lord Frost called for more pragmatism from the EU and urged it to adopt a “new playbook” for talks.
He said: “We are working round the clock to resolve these problems consensually. We have sent a range of policy papers to the EU to outline solutions.
“Just last week, we sent a detailed proposal for a veterinary agreement based on equivalence and for an authorised trader scheme to reduce paperwork and checks. But we have had very little back.
“We want an approach based on the best interests of everyone in Northern Ireland. That means putting the Good Friday Agreement first and supporting rather than undermining the political process and the institutions.
“This is perfectly compatible with a prudent risk-based approach to protecting the EU’s single market too, and we accept our share of responsibility in that as a neighbour and exporter.
He added: “But it also requires a common sense and risk-based approach from the EU as well.
“The EU needs a new playbook for dealing with neighbours, one that involves pragmatic solutions between friends, not the imposition of one side’s rules on the other and legal purism.”
But the apparent blaming of the EU has infuriated Ireland, with Foreign Minister Simon Coveney lashing out at the UK and Lord Frost.
He wrote on Twitter: “Lord Frost continues to lay blame for difficulty with Protocol at EU inflexibility. This is simply not the case.
“@MarosSefcovic &EU have consistently proposed new solutions.
“Is this about media messaging in UK or really solving problems together?”
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