EU are trying to ‘capture Northern Ireland’ says Ben Habib
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But former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brexit Minister Lord David Frost lack the “courage” necessary to protect the Union in the face of ongoing pressure from Brussels. Speaking yesterday, Mr Sefcovic, whose role encompasses responsibility for the Protocol, said any attempt to renegotiate the post-Brexit agreement between the EU and the UK Government would result in “instability, uncertainty and unpredictability”.
The Protocol is intended to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland by stipulating that Northern Ireland continues to adhere to some EU rules and regulations despite the UK having quit the EU.
Instead, critics claim, it has resulted in a border down the Irish Sea.
Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “Maros Sefcovic claims that both sides need to make compromises to make the Protocol work but that it must be implemented in full.
“That is EU speak for it ‘is our way and no other’.”
Referring to Mr Sefcovic’s speech at Queen’s University in Belfast, Mr Habib explained: “He claims that ‘any attempt to renegotiate’ would cause ‘instability, uncertainly and unpredictability’.
“Has he not been following the situation? The Protocol has already caused these; so much so that grounds already exist to suspend it.
“The only reason it has not been suspended is because our Prime Minister and our representative on the Joint Committee, Lord Frost, lack the courage and inclination required to protect Northern Ireland.”
Mr Habib also addressed Mr Sefcovic’s suggestion that Northern Ireland benefited uniquely from being in both the EU’s and UK’s customs union.
He said: “The reality is that Northern Ireland is in the EU’s single market and effectively cut out of the UK.
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“The High Court in Belfast determined that the Protocol has effectively set aside Article 6 of the Act of Union.
“That Act required the British government not to prejudice Northern Ireland when signing international treaties.”
He warned: “The Protocol has broken the foundations of the United Kingdom.
“We need to hear nothing more from Sefcovic.
What we need is our Prime Minister to develop the backbone required to do his job as First Minister of the Union
“What we need is our Prime Minister to develop the backbone required to do his job as First Minister of the Union.”
During his speech, Mr Sefcovic said he was “acutely aware” of the concerns of the Unionist community.
He added: “We are seeking solutions that work for all, including those opposed to the protocol. Because no matter what your outlook is, we are all in this for the long run.
“I know it is possible for us to work together if rhetoric on both sides is dialled down.”
The protocol presented a “real opportunity” for Northern Ireland, Mr Sefcovic claimed.
He explained: “The implementation of this agreement will continue to require compromise from both sides.
“All the exchanges here have only strengthened my conviction that enormous benefit can be extracted from its unparalleled access to two of the world’s largest markets with more than 500 million consumers – a powerful magnet for foreign investment, translated into jobs and growth.”
He added: “But if we are to turn this opportunity into reality, the protocol must be properly implemented.”
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