‘Brexit deal still awry’: Lord Frost will tell EU chiefs more concessions are needed to break Northern Ireland deadlock
- UK officials warned two sides are still ‘not on the same page’ if they start talking
- The minister will urge the EU counterpart to oversee the European judges in NI. abolish
- Pair will agree a timetable for what is expected to be 3-4 weeks of intensive talks
- The Minister of Health indicated that the government would continue to take a tough stance
Lord Frost will tell the EU it must move forward to resolve a conflict over Northern Ireland as Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels.
British officials warned last night that the two sides are still “not on the same page” when they start talking.
The Brexit minister will urge his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic to abolish oversight of European judges in Northern Ireland.
Over lunch at the European Commission’s headquarters in Berlaymont, the two will agree a timetable for what is expected to be three to four weeks of intensive talks.
A possible compromise would be to limit the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Northern Ireland.
Lord Frost (pictured Thursday) will tell the EU it must move forward to resolve a clash over Northern Ireland as Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels
The Brexit minister will urge his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic (above, Wednesday at EU headquarters in Brussels) to abolish supervision of European judges in Northern Ireland
…while Theresa’s advisor applauds the hard talk tactic
Theresa May’s former Brexit adviser has said EU concessions show an “aggressive strategy” is the “only one that works” with Brussels.
In a major downturn, the European Commission has offered to lift most controls on British goods crossing into Northern Ireland.
The compromise comes after Boris Johnson threatened to take the nuclear option to suspend parts of the Brexit deal.
Raoul Ruparel tweeted that the EU’s plans were “definitely enough to negotiate in the coming weeks”, adding: “This will only reinforce the view that the UK’s aggressive strategy is the only one working with the EU. ..’
Disputes would be submitted to an independent arbitration panel. The ECJ would only be called in as a last resort if it does not resolve the matter.
But UK government sources last night tempered expectations about whether such a solution would be acceptable.
And Health Minister Sajid Javid said the government would continue to take a tough stance, insisting that ministers have been clear that ‘one of the key issues is to end the ECJ’s role in Northern Ireland’.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said yesterday that the EU has made “very important” progress to resolve issues surrounding the Brexit deal.
In proposals published earlier this week, the European Commission offered to cut 80 percent of statutory audits and drastically reduce customs procedures for British goods transported to Northern Ireland.
But DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told Mr Sefcovic yesterday that proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol “do not meet what is needed”.
Meanwhile, ‘ferret wars’ replaced worst skirmishes as the latest unlikely Brexit battleground, so named because of a dispute over the free movement of pets across the Irish Sea.
The EU’s latest border control concession doesn’t cover cats, dogs or ferrets, but Lord Frost wants British pets to move freely. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I would call this a ferret blockade. It’s time for the EU to do a reverse fret.’
A British government spokesman said last night that despite Brussels’ concessions, “it is clear that there is still a significant gap between our two positions”.
It came when French fishermen repeatedly threatened to block the Channel – after the UK refused to allow 35 trawlers to fish between six and 12 miles off the British coast, where they could operate before Brexit.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin (pictured in Dublin on Thursday) said the EU has made ‘very significant’ progress to resolve issues surrounding the Brexit deal