They still don’t get it! Verhofstadt admits EU obsessed with Brexit – UK will return

Brexit: Steve Baker predicts possible 'amazing success'

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In an interview, Mr Verhofstatdt claimed the EU is allowing the “world to burn” while the row over chilled meats continues. On the fifth anniversary of the Brexit referendum, Mr Verhofstatdt criticised the amount of time spent arguing with Britain over its departure. He said: “We’re negotiating over sausages while the world burns.”

Highlighting his frustration, the MEP also claimed the EU is struggling to move past the UK’s exit from the bloc.

With Brexit still raging in the EU Parliament, the staunch europhile claimed the bloc has now lost its focus on tackling international issues.

Speaking to the Independent, he said: “We should be defending our shared interests against emboldened autocrats and other challenges, and uniting behind our liberal-democratic ideals.

“Yet precisely at this time we are divided and distrustful of each other.”

The EU and UK are locked in a row over customs checks on chilled meats entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Lord David Frost has called on the EU to extend the grace period for chilled meats beyond the end of this month in order to ease pressure on businesses.

While the EU has claimed it is willing to do so, Mr Verhofstadt issued a parting attack against the Brexit minister.

Criticising the minister and Boris Johnson, Mr Verhofstadt claimed the UK must enter political reality if issues are to be resolved.

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He added: “This will only end when the UK aligns its political vision with the real world.

“All Mr Johnson is doing is exporting his own problems and political agenda – Brexit redux – but the European market for that has become very small indeed.

“Frost still imagines this is a negotiation, when the international treaty is signed.

“Agreements must be kept, they know this as well as anyone, but don’t want to deal with the consequences of their own decisions.”

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Despite the UK completing its departure from the bloc this year, the MEP claimed Brexit will soon be reversed.

Earlier this month, the EU and UK held crisis talks at the G7 summit to discuss issues surrounding Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol.

While it is thought the EU will extend the grace period for chilled meats by six months, multiple problems still remain with the protocol itself.

UK officials have claimed Brussels has taken a purist approach to implementing the procedure.

Due to this, many have called on the Government to alter elements of the protocol or scrap it completely.

Amid these calls, the EU Commission has claimed it will take appropriate measures within the trade deal to punish the UK.

Lord Frost told MPs this week: “If the arrangements are going to be sustainable, the EU have to operate in a pragmatic and proportionate way – and that’s not what’s happening.

“The delicate balance in the Good Friday Agreement risks being unsettled.

“We are implementing the protocol as best we can and spending a lot of money on it, but there are still big problems, and this is creating a sense of difficulty for identity in Northern Ireland.”

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