Furious Lord Frost rages at EU as bloc ‘lurches from crisis to crisis’ in Brexit trade row

Northern Ireland protocol ‘not the problem’ says EU ambassador

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On Wednesday the EU announced a number of solutions to ease the implementation of the Protocol, in a bid to resolve a tense and heated “sausage war.” As well as extending the grace period on chilled meats, it changed its own rules to allow medicines to continue to flow from the UK into Northern Ireland and waived the obligation to show the motor insurance Green Card for drivers from the UK.

 

But the Brexit Minister, speaking today, claimed the solution, which extended the grace period until September 30 from June 30, was just a “sticking plaster”.

He added: “The problem is, although it was good to have reached that agreement to avoid the cliff edge on June 30, it is only a tiny part of the overall problem.

“There is a long list of issues thrown up by the way that the protocol has been implemented.

“This is just one, it was the most immediate, we’ve resolved it for now. But there’s still lots to do.”

In his latest attack on Brussels, Lord Frost said the UK Government was concerned that the EU would just “lurch from date to date, and crisis to crisis” to find “sticking plaster fixes” that “never deal with the underlying problem”.

Lord Frost also claimed the EU leaders were just focused on “process” rather than on addressing the problems arising from the Protocol.

Unionists – who have demonstrated against the UK-EU treaty in recent months – have complained the terms of the Protocol are splitting Northern Ireland from Great Britain and hitting the pockets of businesses, with suppliers either giving up exporting across the Irish Sea or facing added checks and costs to do so.

The protocol is aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

New DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson claimed Northern Ireland risked losing out on economic opportunities because of the Protocol.

Speaking this morning, the MP said: “I believe there are opportunities going forward but we can’t get to those opportunities because of these unnecessary barriers.

“Much of our supply chain comes from Great Britain, whether you are a consumer buying goods in the supermarket or a business relying on component parts for your manufacturing process.

“We need to fix that supply chain problem, we need to restore Northern Ireland’s place within the UK, both the market and constitutionally.”

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Lord Frost agreed with Sir Jeffery and stressed to The Sunday Telegraph that support for the protocol “had collapsed in unionism.”

He added: “ The latest polling shows that there’s a 50/50 division in Northern Ireland.

“That’s just not a stable basis to proceed on. That is the problem.”

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