Great Britain

EU must stop sulking over Brexit and work with Britain to make it a success, Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser says

BORIS Johnson's Brexit negotiator says Brussels has to stop sulking over the UK's decision to leave the EU - and work to make the split a success.

Lord Frost accused the bloc of "ill will" and says Brussels has to work on building a friendly relationship instead.

It comes days after the Prime Minister extended the grace period for supermarkets' goods and parcels from the end of this month to October, sparking legal threats from the EU.

The extension, which means procedures and checks aren't fully applied, prompted fury from the bloc, which is jointly responsible with the UK for the Northern Ireland Protocol.

After the move was announced, raging Eurocrats said tariffs could be slapped on UK goods - and even threatened to block the City of London's access to European markets.

But writing for The Telegraph, the Lord Frost blamed the escalating tensions on the EU’s threat to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland in January.

Brussels made the shocking move in a row over vaccine supply - before quickly withdrawing the action hours later.

Lord Frost, who personally negotiated the Brexit trade deal and joined Mr Johnson’s Cabinet last month, says the EU’s behaviour “has significantly undermined cross-community confidence in the Protocol”.

He said in the publication: “As the Government of the whole of our country we have to deal with that situation – one that remains fragile.

"That is why we have had to take some temporary operational steps to minimise disruption in Northern Ireland.

"They are lawful and are consistent with a progressive and good faith implementation of the Protocol.

“They are about protecting the everyday lives of people in Northern Ireland, making sure they can receive parcels and buy the usual groceries from the supermarket.”

Lord Frost said one of the major benefits to Brexit that can already be seen is the UK's decision to break away from an EU scheme on coronavirus vaccines to order its own supplies instead.

He writes: “I have always believed that the gains of controlling our own affairs outweigh the short-term adjustments.

"That is what Britain has chosen.

“And we are already seeing the results of that choice. Opting out of EU vaccine procurement has had extraordinary results.

"It will enable us soon, I hope, to cast off all the shackles of lockdown and to return to the full freedom and normal life which a free people have every right to expect.”

The latest row between the UK and EU

Brussels says plan to extend Brexit grace period breaks international law

The UK Government was accused of breaking international law for a second time by the European Commission this week.

It came after ministers said the UK would unilaterally act to give Northern Ireland businesses time to adapt to the new rules of Brexit by extending the grace period for supermarkets' rules and parcels.

If the extension isn't given, shipments of chilled meats between GB and NI, such as sausages and burgers, will be banned from next month.

In a statement, Maroš Šefčovič, the vice-president of the commission, said a move announced by Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis to exempt goods coming from Britain from checks amounted to a “violation” of the withdrawal agreement.

“This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law,” the statement said.

“This also constitutes a clear departure from the constructive approach that has prevailed up until now.”

The UK has asked for a two-year extension to all grace periods for Irish Sea border checks including those on food, parcels, plants and medicines. So far, Brussels has resisted.

Lewis said the government had to act to protect the interests of Northern Ireland and keep shelves stocked.

The commission said it had not been informed of the decision in advance of Lewis revealing the plan to Parliament.

And he believes Brexit will allow the UK to take a greater role on the world stage.

“In recent years it was too often claimed that Britain was no longer interested in playing a major international role," he said.

"I never believed that. The British people are internationalist and want to make a difference in the world.”

He said the UK's "agenda" is one of an "outward-looking country, confident we can work with others towards common goals".

"That is our hope for our ties with our European friends and allies too. I hope they will shake off any remaining ill will towards us for leaving, and instead build a friendly relationship, between sovereign equals," he said.

David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs, told the publication: “The EU has displayed significant bad faith, ranging from the intemperate anti-British sniping of Mr Macron’s Europe minister, Clément Beaune, to the extraordinarily aggressive and unjustified action of banning the export of vaccines to the UK.

"This is in clear breach of the spirit of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK can’t be expected to stand by while trade is disrupted and supermarket shelves are at risk of emptying.

“David Frost is absolutely right to take proportionate measures."

Bickering EU chiefs clash over Brexit as Ireland’s PM warns other leaders to stop their Brit-bashing

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