Sammy Wilson: EU used and abused Northern Ireland
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Brussels is refusing to strike a deal on Northern Ireland because the European Union wants to “keep a foot in the UK” and meddle in British politics, according to an MP. The DUP’s chief Westminster whip Sammy Wilson claimed Northern Ireland was being “used and abused” by Brussels because the EU wants to wield power over the UK after Brexit. This comes as Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney played down the prospect of a breakthrough on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol in UK-EU talks next week.
Speaking to DW, Mr Wilson said: “I don’t have faith in these talks because the EU has used and abused Northern Ireland throughout this whole withdrawal process.
“They have talked about the importance of protecting the single market – even though only four percent of the trade we do goes to the EU.
“Only five percent of the firms in Northern Ireland trade with the Irish Republic.
“The chance of leakage into the EU single market from Northern Ireland were very, very remote.”
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DW host Tim Sebastian pointed out that the UK Government willingly entered into the Brexit deal.
Mr Wilson responded: “The EU is using Northern Ireland to try and keep a foot in the door of the UK, and that has been done through the Protocol.
“The only solutions the EU offers are simply asking the UK to align more with the EU’s single market rules, to align with their custom rules.”
The Protocol, agreed by London and Brussels to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, keeps Northern Ireland bound by some EU trade rules.
In effect, this puts a trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, to the fury of outraged Brexiteers and the DUP.
Ireland’s Simon Coveney said he believes negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol must conclude by the end of this month.
The remarks, made during Mr Coveney’s visit to Belfast, follow the collapse of the power-sharing executive in Stormont earlier this month.
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Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg has squashed claims that Brexit has damaged Britain’s trade.
The new Brexit opportunities minister blamed recent drops in exports to the EU on Covid, instead of the departure from the European bloc.
Since leaving the EU, British businesses have dealt with additional paperwork and border checks when exporting products to EU countries.
Official trade statistics show UK exports to the EU in the first ten months of 2021 were down 12 percent on pre-pandemic levels.
However, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted that Brexit was “already a success” and was boosting the economy.
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